“I share visitation of my oldest daughter who is 9. Her father has full custody of her and they live in florida. I have since then moved to canada on our agreement and visitation. It has been almost a year in august since this has been going on. I am now getting concerned bewcause her well being is not being taken seriously by her father. He moved to Florida in sept 2005. Our agreement is that I get her in the summer and he pays for flight cost, I get her xmas and spring break and I pay flight cost. Well she cam here last xmas i paid for it and now she is here in the summer. She was suppose to be here may27,06 but he calls me the last min and tells me he cant afford it bcz he got fired again. So I had to scramble and get the money up and now she is here 6/27/06. When she arrived her clothes were all ratty, her sneakers look like they were taking out of the trash they are too big for her feet and falling apart.
She has been telling me over the phone that she doesnt have a bedroom that she sleeps in the livingroom on the couch and that she doesnt eat dinner every night. And she doesnt have a doctorn nor a dentist or any medical services that pertain to her. I called DSS down there bcz month ago my daughter calls me up and tells me daddy slammed my fingers in the door a week ago and my finger is numb and purplish. I asked her how long has been it she said she thinks about a week or so. I askled her if daddy brought her to the dr she said no I dont have one. I would of went for custody for her but at that time I didnt have the money nor still dont have the money for a huge battle. What I want to know is there away she can have a lawyer and go to court or what can I actually do here to get her back.
Is there away she can have a social worker or anything? When I called DSS they handed him a drug test and talked to him. Naomi told me that daddy told her to say certain things. I told her to tell the truth but i dont if she did and i dont want to ask her. I just dont know what to do and i feel that my child needs a better life then what she has and i know i can provide that for her. If there is anything that I can do or direct me in what to do thank you.”
When you reported the father to social services, and they did the welfare check, had the conditions been dangerous to your daughter’s health, you would have known about it. At least I hope that the DSS in Florida was doing their job.
Sometimes in very high conflict cases, attorneys are appointed for the minor children. Right now, though, yours does not seem to be a high conflict case. There are ongoing Court orders. There are no pending motions. I would urge caution before turning a low conflict case into a high conflict case.
I practice in California, so here to get a case for modification of timeshare (custody and visitation) somebody has to file a motion. If there are actual threats to the health, well-being and safety of the child the Court may make temporary orders. Then you go to mediation. If no agreement, then you go to a Judicial Custody Conference. If no agreement, then you go to an Assessment. Then a return JCC, and a return assessment. Finally a year or so and thousands of dollars later you go to a settlement conference and a trial. And you better have been right when it started or you just may be paying te other side’s attorney fees.
You could ask the ex if he can handle having a daughter, or wouldn’t it be in her best interests to live with you for a while. A negotiated agreement is almost always better than putting it in the judge’s hands. However, there are times to make a stand to do what is best for your child. There may be a pro bono project in your town or other resources for preparing paperwork available to you. But do some soul-searching about your goals, the potential effects and the probable outcomes before you make the decision to go forward. A consultation with an attorney experienced in this area of law would likely be helpful.