Building a Strong Modification Case
So, talking about the motion to modify, how do you make that case on refusal to honor a visitation arrangement and alienation? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Tulsa father’s rights attorney here with Dads.Law, and we’re going to talk about making your case for modification in a denial of visitation alienation scenario.
As a preliminary matter, you need to be able to show the court that her behavior is not in good faith, that she didn’t have a good reason for withholding. So that means you cannot have things like drug use, child abuse, child neglect, criminal history, or I should say recent criminal activity that are going to bite you in the ass or somebody that you brought around that’s a problem. So those things need to be taken off the table. When I say somebody that you brought around, I’m referring to your significant other or even if you move a problem family member into the house, that could still cause you that same issue. So as a preliminary matter, any of those kinds of situations, you better rectify those before you even attempt that or you’re going to just get kicked in the face.
But assuming you’re not dealing with where she can justify it on one of those situations, the likely scenario you’re going to deal with is she’s either going to try to say that the kids don’t know you or that the kids don’t want to visit. Those are the usual responses you get. Most of the time if they’re looking down the barrel of a motion to modify and they’ve actually retained counsel, attorneys know that they’re not going to go in the court and let them sit there and say that they just hate your guts and you shouldn’t get that relationship with your kids because that’s not a reason and they’re going to get the shit kicked out of them for that. So typically you’re going to get something like, well, the kids say they don’t want to go or, well, you don’t know the kids. So dealing with that, you’re going to need to be able to present testimony and you’re probably talking about expert testimony to present the idea that mom has gotten in those kids ears and has them convinced that they’re not safe with you, convinced that they don’t want a relationship with you for one or more reasons. And you’re going to need someone who has some background in that type of child psychology who can interview the kids and develop that kind of evidence so that you can go to court and present that testimony and rebut her argument that kids don’t want to go. And just to be blunt with you, you’re talking about you need a decent war chest to accomplish that. So be prepared for that coming through the door. That argument really works the best if there really isn’t anything that can be pointed to as a legitimate reason why the kids wouldn’t want to spend time with you or why she won’t let them spend time with you. Because if you have some kind of a history or if there’s been an incident, then you’re probably not going to be very successful with that argument. I’m just going to tell you right now. And also your expert could wind up becoming an expert against you. So there’s that issue too.
Evidence and Tools to Support Your Case
Some other tools potentially, obviously general discovery, deposition, if she’s making a bunch of wild-eyed allegations about you, you can sometimes blow those up in deposition. And be prepared there will be something alleged. If you go down that path with somebody who’s really legitimately engaged in alienation, they’re going to have something that sounds like a rational reason for why they won’t, in most cases, for why they won’t let you be in the kids’ lives. Or it’s going to be that the kids are going to say something and they’re going to believe that you’re an abuser. They’re going to believe that you are dangerous or whatever. And they probably will believe it. It doesn’t make it true, but they will believe it because they’ve been conditioned to believe it. So that’s something to be aware of and that’s something that’s going to have to be addressed right out of the chute when you go to court. And that’s, I mean, you may also be looking at a situation where if it’s a really serious allegation you might want to look at maybe a forensic interview or you may, if you’re dealing with somebody who’s really wackaloo, you may want to motion to court for things like a psych eval on the other party. You may want to consider submitting to a psych eval yourself, depending on what it is she’s saying about you. You may want to submit to drug testing, again, depending on what she’s saying about you, to try to take the wind out of her sails and blow up those types of arguments. Because she’s going to have some reason she’s going to assert to the court as to why she feels justified in that behavior. So you need to be prepared for that. And this will not be an easy case to make and you’re going to have to be prepared to deal with that.
Protecting Your Finances and Child Support Enforcement
Now, one other thing I want to caution you about that you will run into, and it’s more or less a defensive tactic that comes up a lot with motions to modify when you’re the non-custodial parent, which is child support enforcement. Make sure you don’t owe her money. Now, she doesn’t get to withhold on you because you owe her money. That’s not the law. And that’s not why I bring this up. The reason I bring this up is, if you owe her money and you sue her for custody, she has every incentive in the world to file contempt on your ass. And you will, and she will, and you’re going to wind up having to deal with spending most of your resources that you could spend on the custody litigation fighting the contempt, which is expensive, before you even get into court on the other issue. And she can make you piss through all your resources dealing with contempt, which, even if you win that, you don’t win anything, you just win not going to jail. So the long and short of it is, make sure you, if you owe her money, pay that shit back before you initiate custody proceedings. Otherwise, you’re going to waste all your time in contempt proceedings, and you’ll get nowhere on the custody matter. And that’s where you really want to spend your resources, is winning the custody battle.
Free Consultation – Get the Help You Need
If you are in this situation, and especially if you’re contemplating a motion to modify because she won’t let you see your kids, then you really do need good counsel, because it’s going to be war, and it’s going to be a complicated and expensive trial, unfortunately. So you need good counsel. One place you can find a good child visitation lawyer in Oklahoma is at Dads.Law.