3rd & Final Tips – PART III
Please share my tips with someone you know who has gone through a custody battle or who might be considering it. If you found them helpful, please leave a comment below or send me a message, I would love to hear your story or your feedback. Here are my final words of information.
My child had two separate parties on her birthday, some may say she was lucky, but I say that her biggest birthday wish was for one giant party with both her parents.
On her 7th birthday, she returned from her access visit with many gifts. She had a few in hand, her father had the rest. I proceeded to take the gifts from him with my new baby in arm. I believe him seeing my new child enraged him and he took back the gifts from my hand…I asked him for the gifts and he refused, so I told him that I would leave without them, that he was punishing his own child and not me. We began to argue, there was a huge commotion and I ended up with a black eye, my baby on the floor and my daughter gone.
Fast forward…the police were called and they were not charged.
TIP: Carry a copy of your custody order at all times. I went to the hospital to document my injuries, proceeded to the police station and spoke to the supervisor in charge. To my surprise, he was very empathic and I explained what happened, he observed my injuries and sent police officers to file charges of child abduction unless she was returned. She returned her that evening. Quiet, scared and confused – but home.
Did you know?
As a citizen you can have charges laid by private prosecution. You can present your story and evidence by scheduling a special hearing with a Justice of the Peace.
In my case, since the original police officers did not press charges. I was able to do so, through this medium and all parties were served with a summons which notified them of their criminal charges.
Ask for EVERYTHING!
If you absolutely have to bring your child custody case to family law court then…I don’t recommend this route unless there is domestic violence or intimidation. And even then, family mediation is still advisable under these circumstances; otherwise you are leaving all decisions in the judges’ hands.
During a lunch recess at court, my ex was advised by duty counsel (who was his girlfriend’s family friend) to request a letter from my daughters’ ballet class regarding her attendance. He left the courthouse and returned with a letter from the ballet studio.
He did bring my daughter to ballet because he owned a vehicle, but he manipulated the system and used the letter to ‘prove’ that he was raising her since birth. All I had as proof at the time was my word. The judge awarded him interim custody for 8 months. I lost my daughter to his lies!
I felt weak and defeated! The roles were reversed and now I was asking for visitation and access. My lawyer advised me that I could only receive every other weekend, but I insisted that she ask for EVERY weekend. My lawyer advised me against this request, but I demanded her to ask. In the end, the judge granted me EVERY weekend and my lawyer apologized to me.
TIP: Ask for everything you that you feel your entitled and that benefits your child’s the quality of life. Allowing your case to appear in court is taking a big risk; you have to trust the judge but most importantly trust yourself to make the right and fair decision for your child.
An example: every weekend, all summer, all holidays, all PD Days, Mother’s day, Father’s Day, fees for extracurricular activities, medical appointments, and transportation. ..etc…
More information about mediation: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/mediation.asp
In the beginning of my case I started off with an amazing lawyer, Linda Ross, but moved into a new region and was forced to retain a newbie lawyer, who had less than 3 years experience. I chose her because I thought she was hungry and thorough, I thought she would do a good job. I was wrong!
She presented my documents for me to review a day before court, arrived late on the day of my final court date, and I’ve had to represent myself and speak over her and directly to the judge, as she did not review my case.
If I hadn’t been so passionate and brave, I would have lost my case. I had to speak up when she didn’t represent me. I couldn’t live with myself knowing that I could lose my child to an incompetent lawyer.
TIP: Interview potential lawyers before retaining their services. See you’re a good fit with each other. Good questions to ask are:
- How long have you been practicing family law?
- How many child custody cases do you handle annually?
- Do you handle custody cases similar to mine?
- What experience do you have using mediation in child custody cases?
- How would you describe your personality or style as an attorney?
Resource – Law Society Referral Service directly at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 (within the Greater Toronto Area), Monday – Friday, between 9 am – 5 pm
When you use LSRS, we will give you a referral number and the phone number of a lawyer or paralegal. Call that person’s office and provide your name, phone number, and the referral number. Someone will contact you within three business days to arrange for your consultation.
BONUS – JUDGES
This is the BOSS Judge! Judge Harvey Brownstone…will never forget his name!
He saw through the lies, deception and torment of my long child custody battle!
After 5+ long, drawn-out, exhausting years, I was finally granted FULL CUSTODY with primary care and control.
I’m forever grateful! If you’re reading this…Thank you!
He’s amazing read about him: Harvey Brownstone
He has his own television show: www.familymatterstv.com/
He wrote an amazing book, called the Tug of War; proceeds go to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Buy Tug of War:
Tug of War demystifies complex family law concepts and procedures, clearly explains how family court works, and gives parents essential alternatives to resolve their own custody battles and keep their kids out of the often damaging court system.