Will my ex's lies prevent my getting visitation rights?

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Question:

My soon-to-be ex is doing everything to prevent my getting visitation rights -- filed a restraining order, claimed abuse against one child, refused to answer the door when I arrived and more. The lying is outrageous. The kids are both under age 4 and getting coached by my ex. My lawyer is just twiddling his thumbs. What do you suggest?

Answer:

The answer to your question depends upon how the judge will view your ex-spouse, and how you will look to the court as well. Will it be clear to the judge that your ex is an angry, irrational person who has lost all perspective? Or will the judge instead decide that the charges against you merit looking into?

To win, your ex is almost certainly going to have a witness or two who can back up the charges. In most states your lawyer can require the other lawyer to provide a list of witnesses who will be present at the hearing. Ask your lawyer to do this.

If the list includes people you know, there's nothing wrong with you calling them and politely asking (don't argue with them!) how they feel about the situation. This will help you prepare for your court date, and may reveal their potential testimony to be less damaging than you expected.

Then you should attempt to dig up a couple of independent witnesses for yourself. Don't use your best friend from high school or your favorite aunt or uncle. The judge will figure that close friends and family will be on your side no matter what. But if you can find a babysitter, a neighbor, or some other semi-neutral person to say you are a good parent, their testimony will be worth its weight in gold.

You can do some of this legwork yourself, but tell your lawyer what you are doing and try to get the lawyer to be more assertive about your rights. If you aren't getting what you need, find a new lawyer.

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