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“Well here is my situation . My ex and I were never married . Threw out the whole relationship he abused me .In that time he had papers drown up and put a gun to my head and told me to sign them. So I did . Now I am living threw the aftermath . The papers were custody papers and he had them drawn up with out me even knowing . Then after it all was over and I had made up my mind to leave he told me what I had signed. Now its been 5 years of heartache . Being able to see my daughter and fighting for custody and getting turned down. Now my ex has been openly gay for 2 years has move to 2 differnet states without me knowing . Because he has my daughter living with his parent . And his parents cover up for him. As soon as I find out he does not live in the state any more he comes back .He also covers his own tracks . He has a po box in the state . He was charged with a substance not marajanne . He now is being charged with fraud . His mother has pressed charges against his father for domestic abuse twice since 2004. I hate this all this is going on and I can not do anything .I have not seen my daughter since June its now August. I can always take him back to court for contempt which I have done 10 times. Nothing gets resolved . Do you have any advice ? Which direction should I go . I can not afford a lawyer .I have tried to contact people to see if their are low income lawyers for Batlimore county . They do not offer them . I need to know what my rights are . He tells me that I have none . Please help me.”Not sure what was contained in the “custody papers”, but since you’ve been in and out of Court a few times, it sounds like the Court has had the opportunity to make rulings in your case. If you did not make the argument that you initially signed the papers under duress, you probably should have. Whether the Court will reconsider the whole case at this point based on this argument (now 5 years into proceedings) is in doubt.
Question: I wonder what is the visitation schedule? If you do not have any set visitation, there had to be facts (other than the original papers) that worked against you. It sounds like you have some visitation (what else could you base contempt on) so it is likel that you have not terminated your parental rights. I read the narrative, and there are certainly pieces of the puzzle missing. You definitely would have to be more organized and clear to get family court personnel to be able to understand your situation. Figure out: 1) What are the current Court orders; 2) What more can I do to participate in my daughter’s life?; 3) What would be reasonable timeshare under the current circumstances?; 4) What do I need to do to get my own house in order?Many attorneys give initial free consultations. There is a bunch of info on the web. Research whether the contempt convictions can be used by the Court in determining your the custodial arrangement. It seems that Maryland Law Code Title 9-105 would allow some changes to the visitation schedule if your parental rights were being frustrated, and if a change in the schedule was in your daughter’s best interests. It is tough to figure out how you could get 10 (!) contempt charges, and no guarantees towards your timeshare. If there are new facts for contempt, there is no bar to bringing another charge. I usually will be very careful in my practice before bringing a contempt proceeding, and try to talk things out first, and wait until I have a couple of charges before going forward.
Your ex’s gayness will likely not effect your case. Unless the violence of the paternal grandfather was directed at your daughter, it is unlikely that fact will help either. Drug convictions may raise the suspicions of a judge or other famil court person looking at your case.
You generally have the right to be a parent to the extent of your ability, juxtaposed against the other parent’s right to do the same. I am not sure how orders go to be so far balanced against you, but the path to relationship rehabilitation is often a long and tough one. You will also probably have to do things you do not want to do, and also make sacrifices. Make sure to keep your daughter’s best interests as the guiding light for the decisions you make.