Jump to content
honeypie31

Long distance visitation, What to do when kids aren't returned as planned

Recommended Posts

I am a mom of three kids. Almost three years ago my three kids and I flew from Missouri to my homestate of Washington for a funeral and never went back to their dad in Missouri. I have worked my butt off so my kids could have a better life here than we did in Missouri. Their dad, since our departure, has lost the house we had, spent time in jail for stealing class c felony in one county and drug charge in another. He hasn't had a job in at least 10 years. After he was released from jail he has been put on probation and restricted from leaving the state. This last summer we agreed on the kids going to Missouri to visit him for the summer. If he would fund the trip then I would grant permission. Our original agreement of one of his sisters driving the kids there and staying for the length of the visit and driving them back, fell through four days before the kids were scheduled to leave. His other sister came to his rescue and bought the kids plane tickets. She provided an itinery to show who was taking them to the airport, what documents were needed for the trip, times of flights, the whole 9 yards. The flight down went as planned in the itinery. Two weeks before the kids were to return home my oldest child, 12, calls me and tells me that she is going to stay with her dad and her brother, 8,  is staying too and I can't make them come home. The middle child, 11, wanted to come home and not stay. I told my daughter that I would call her back because I needed to think about what she just said. For that conversation and every conversation is on speaker phone for their dad to hear. I had to sit and think about how I felt about them staying and also look at things from their point of view. Their dad said he had nothing to do with the decision, they came up with it all on their own, and it would only be for the school year. I am the custodial parent. He was named persons NOT ALLOWED to pick up kids from school without contacting me first. Somehow he was able to get their school records transfered, obtain social security cards, and enroll them without any school, doctors, counselors anyone calling me or informing me of any transfers being made. When I talked to him verbally and through email to let him know how i felt and how I thought this matter should be handled, my wishes were ignored. I felt if our 12yr old wanted to stay then I would give my permission, our 11yr old wanted to come home, and our 8yr old, I didn't feel was ready to make that kind of decision. At his age he is easily persuaded and just wants to make his parents happy, and isn't mature enough to be able to decide where he lives. I suggested that he come home with his sister and at the end of the school year if he still wants to live with his dad I would give my permission for him to stay for that next school year. I put my plan for visitation and my request of how this living arrangement should work into a nine page email that he never read or responded to. Two days before they scheduled return home flight, his sister sends me a message asking how many kids she is picking up from the airport. I never told her that they weren't all returning home, or that I was okay with any decisions of any of them staying. It was clearly stated in the itinerary that all 3 were returning home. I believe she had something to do with the kids staying or knew what was being planned. So now is where I have the biggest moral ind maternal dillema. I haven't done anything to protest the 2 staying. He can't pay his bills and can't afford foodfor them. They dont have water because of an unpaid bill, their electricity is getting shut off for non payment. My daughter was complaining of an issue she was having that I believe is a yeast infection. I told her what to buy and that she needed to see a doctor to make sure. She is only bathing once a week and has only 4 pair of underwear so she doesn't change them every day. Their dad claims that their insurance won't work in that state. I called and their insurance, I have for them, is active and there shouldn't be any problems being seen especially for her problem. She first informed me of her problem October 24, 2016 and as of 11/7/2016 still hadn't been seen by a doctor and the infection is still there.

Their dad quit his job because concerned members of the church across the street stopped by and expressed their concerns of the kids being left home alone from 4:30pm-6:30am five days a week while he went to work. I had a huge problem with them being left alone. I didn't feel right leaving them home alone when they were all under my roof, even if i was never more than 5 min away. 

I have been worried and stressed on what I should do. He can't afford to keep the kids, cant pay the bills and may loose his house. He is on probation and if he missed a payment he goes back to jail for remainder of hes 10yr sentance. They are living with no water, barely any food, about to loose electricity and the roof over their head. They don't need to live like that. I have plenty of food, my bills are paid, they have health insurance, all their needs are met. I don't know what to file, with what dept to file, or with what state to file in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @honeypie31

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting. Sorry to hear about the situation with your children. If you have an order for physical custody of the children, and the father will not return the children to you, then you need to take action in the family court. If a child is of an appropriate age, a child's wishes are taken into account among other factors when determining a custodial arrangement. However, as the custodial parent you have the right to insist that the children are returned following the vacation. This article may be helpful.

 

You may want to speak with a family law attorney about filing a motion insisting on the immediate return of the children. For a free consultation with a family law attorney, click here, or use the FindLaw lawyer directory to search by city and state.

 

Best of luck and keep us posted!

The FindLaw.com Team

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So 3 years ago you moved half way across the country with your children. Their father remained where he was and they have not seen him until a few months ago. Is their father your husband, ex-husband, boyfriend? Is there a legal court authorized custody and visitation agreement? What does it say? Emailed agreements and deals made with siblings carry no weight.

 

I am unclear why after 3 years you suddenly allowed 3 young children to visit him if he is a felon, who is unemployed and unable to provide food or medicine. It is likewise inconceivable that you are considering allowing some of the children to stay there without access to water, electricity, food, or medical care. What am I missing here? It is difficult to follow your post but it sounds like there are 3 children living in squalor and neglect. Why have you not flown there to bring them home? If they are truly being neglected then calling CPS sounds in order, but it is really unclear why the children are still with him.

 

If he is the legal father then he can enroll the children in school as well as you can. Any agreement that might exist between the two of you is not binding on the school. It is really unclear that there is any agreement at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I apologize I tend to ramble when I'm flustered, angry, and unsure of what to do about a situation. Let me see if I can better explain myself. 

 

I left with my kids from Missouri to Washington in May 2014. Their father got caught stealing and went to jail in June of 2014(case.net:14PO-CR00388-01 (Missouri Courts)) He was released in May of 2015. Giving him one year to find a job, get his probation figured out, get a job, a stable place to live, plus save up money to pay for transportation costs to have kids come see him. 

 

The issues that we had were between us and had nothing to do with the kids. As much as I don't care for him and every other mean thing I can think of, he is the kids dad. I don't believe I have any reason or legal leg to stand on keeping the kids from him. He's not a pedifile, just a felon. With my kids not understanding or seeing that their dad is a deadbeat, they need to see for themselves that they can't count on him.  That he can't hold down a job, and he can't take care of them on his own. 

So far there is no parenting plan in place. There is a child support order that I filed in 2014 and forgot about. The first week or so of the kids being there he kept saying he was being garnished for child support. It wasn't until only one kid came back that I was able to find and obtain any information about a child support order. I was never paid any child support by the state or him and figured it was a lost cause.  I have been paid roughly $670 total in child support. Which would cover half of the cost of the kids entering the school year. Although right now I've been so lost and depressed, I haven't been able to focus to work. I'm not drowning but not doing as well as I was. It's hard for me to be away from my kids, well 2 of them, I've never been away from them for more than a day or two.   

I have papers to file an emergency restraining order and parenting plan. I am unsure what exactly will happen when the sheriff serves him with the restraining order that would keep him from taking the kids out of Washington until case hearing. Will the sheriff arrest the dad or just take the kids? I don't know stuff like that works, I've never been in trouble. If the sheriff takes the kids I would need to arrange it with them to pick up the kids and bring them back to Washington and go forth with the hearing. 

 

I really can't afford a Lawyer, the Clear Hotline I'm told to call is useless because I haven't gotten through the call line to even get a referral for help. Lawyers that do probono cases only take the referrals from northwest justice and before NW Justice helps you, you must get your appointment interview from clear hotline. I'm not sure what is worse; not knowing enough about the law to help yourself or being sent on a wild goose chase to find a lawyer to help me or at least provide me with the information and a forward direction. I would like him fail the children like he is doing and when he is deemed unfit then I will be there to pick up the pieces.

 

He is smart and manipulative. If I go to Missouri, I can't be found by him. He will in some way keep me there. And maybe that's part of his twisted plan. To see what it will take for me to come there and take the kids or fall into his trap. Out of the 12 years we were together, Never married, six of those years I kept trying to leave. If I found a place to go then he would come drag me back home. Washington is my "Safe Zone" the minute he steps foot in the state he will be arrested and locked up for the next 7-10 years without probation or parole.His criminal record is the worst in this state. I've made a point to get to know my local officers and live on tribal land where it's monitored by tribal police. I may need them one day and have all their numbers on speed dial.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The minute you mention tribal land and any tribal laws, you stepped outside the realm of what we can do to help you. You will need to discuss it with a lawyer for sure. The laws are very different.

 

In general, if a child is born to an unwed mother, there essentially is no legal father. Either of you can establish paternity through the courts, but otherwise, he is a legal stranger with no rights to the children. I can't tell if paternity was ever established or not. This can also vary based on tribal law. If paternity is never legally established you have total control over when and if he sees them and I see no reason at all for you to send 3 young children into squalid conditions with a felon to 'see for themselves" he is a deadbeat. It is your job to protect them. Without an order anything paid in support is just a gift. If you never followed trough in 2014, there isn't an order.

 

There is no such thing as being arrested merely for visiting a state. No US court would grant a protection order that was state wide. There are no border patrols between states and unless he is detained for some other reason and has an open warrant for his arrest in WA, he won't be arrested merely for showing up there. There may or may not be prohibitions with regard to his entering tribal land.

 

http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=10868&state_code=TR&open_id=10880

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, honeypie31 said:

 

I apologize I tend to ramble when I'm flustered, angry, and unsure of what to do about a situation. Let me see if I can better explain myself.

 

 

I read through your entire follow up post.  However, while there were a couple comments that I could comment on, I'm not sure there would be much of a point since I didn't see a single question and therefore am not sure what you want to know or what the purpose of your post is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...