That's some heavy stuff!
No clues as to this specific judge but as I have always said, once they rule on custody (or flip it) it is very hard to get them to change it again. Your adult daughter testifying against you will probably hurt as that may be the most crucial testimony the judge has since children under 15 are not credible etc. Threats of supervised or cancelled visitation mean that whomever is saying that feels somebody is unable to foster a relationship without anger etc.
I know you are honest and you put so much out there that I would not expect from somebody just painting a fake picture (you list good and bad). I hope it all works out for you and if it is at all possible I still believe some version of Joint Physical Custody would be best. Winning custody for you will absolutely depend on the judge believing there was molestation that was both preventable and untreated in your ex's care thus showing he is not fit to protect minor children. Not a good thought if it happened and certainly something that cannot be permitted to happen again.
If you want to know how he will rule it will come down to the following in recap:
#1 - Does he believe you are somehow unstable or hostile to such an extreme the children are at emotional risk?
#2 - Does he believe a child was molested under the care of your ex?
#3 - Does he believe your oldest daughter since she was recently minor and has now transistioned to adulthood?
#4 - Does he believe the minor children's stated version of events or does he feel they were scripted (if he finds they were scripted it will go bad for the parent he feels responsible for it)?
So, good luck and pray......
It will all depend on the values or lack there of of the judge and how lazy he is. most will take the path of least resistance wich is why it is so hard to change a goofed up order.
let us know how it ends and give us the judges name so we can vote accordinly when he/she comes up for retention.
I have prepared several documents for my husband regarding his custody/visitation and most recently attempted name change in both Iowa and Nebraska. It is really not too difficult to file, just follow the pattern of similar petitions when you are writing yours up. Also, the district court clerk's office is supposed to assist pro se litigants. They often will try to put you off by saying they can't give legal advice. (which they can't) They CAN however provide public information about the case, docket, etc, they also can give court rules, procedures, and administrative practice, and tell or show pro se litigants where to find pertinent statutes or rules of procedures, and identify which forms you might need and provide those forms. There is a document called "Guidelines and Instructions for clerks who assist pro se litigants in Iowa courts" that I found online, I can't remember where, but this may help you get assistance in the clerk's office if they are being "difficult." You can file complaints with the immediate supervisor if the employees are not helping and if that doesn't work, file a complaint with the court administrator. Also, my son brought home a pamphlet given out by our local AEA from school which had an advertisement in it for "Legal services corporation of Iowa." (LSCI) Which says it provides free state-wide services for low-income persons. It says Family law is one of it's priorities and that it gives legal education by staff attorneys and paralegals. It does say you would be responsible for filing fees. The application process and consultation takes place over the phone. The number to call for information is (515)243-2151 M-F 8:30-5:00. I have no idea how helpful this service is, I just found the add and though it might help you.
There is the theory that if you do get crushed in court and have no money left to give - go Pro Se and (SEAMAN) is right to tell you that courts will actively discourage you from Pro Se filings. They will tell you they can't do anything so simply concentrate on the REQUIRED FORMS. You will get crushed a couple times - even on formality form issues but there is a serious chance that you will get to state your case in the end. I suggest pulling a case file of someone with the same type of filing and copy it. Or... hire an attorney for $150 do file the forms for you and fight the case yourself! That is the safest route.
I once started a Pro Se filing but an attorney buddy of mine took it over since he thought I would harm my case. I think Pro Se filings are best for Contempts of Court since they can't discharge their attorney fees upon you when/if you lose - at least that is my understanding. If you are being killed by the courts why not file an endless series "appeals" that force the court to realize there is a problem. You have nothing to lose - well possibly that is.
If I were in your situation and I felt 100% justified - that would be my route.
When someone has the ability to hire an attorney even for contempt proceedings, they are usually better off.
Pro Se does have advantages such as you can cross the gray line and argue cases in a manner that attorneys will not. You also can testify by telling the court exactly how you feel and what transpired while on the stand (meaning you dictate what exhibits and information is brought forth).
My lawyer buddy is Ted Sporer of Sporer/Illic PC in DSM. You can reach him at 515-244-5575. He is expensive and very busy as the Republican Party Chair of Polk County so he will probably pass you off to one of his assistants. You can expect any lawyer that is simply preparing the filings to charge around $250 (tops). You must not let them enter an appearance so they understand you are arguing your own case. Best to get one in the county/state you are filing your case in to avoid any mistakes. You are also correct that older children do not automatically decide where they want to live and the courts agree. They do tend to run away a lot, if that is their desire, and the courts eventually recognize the de facto living arrangement and subsequently alter child support. If that is an option.
Adult children will have a huge effect on any testimony. Proven abuse substantiated by authorities will also carry weight. Anything to the contrary will obscure or refute - which is not good for your case.
You asked about the Republicans vs. Democrats for our issues. So far it has been a mixed bag but Republicans seem to be warmer to our cause. Some Democrats help but they never take the lead just as some Republicans fight against us but not as active. My breakdown is as follows:
Republicans are about 50% with - 10% against 40% in the middle.
Democrats are 25% with - 25% against - 50% in the middle.
Sorry about your 18 year old daughter living with her bf and I know you would not have supported that.
Regarding the Democrats vs. Republicans...this year in the House, around 80% of the Republicans supported us and we had only two Democrats support us (Tom Schueller & Ed Fallon).
The Democrats have not been our friends and the ones that stand up for us take a terrible beating. The Democratic leadership and radical left leaning Feminists certainly push to reject any notion of Joint Custody. Yet, Governor Vilsack signed our legendary bill that initiated true Joint Custody in Iowa.
We can NEVER get any bill thru without substantial Democratic help so we can't reject the Democrats out of hand. Republicans, on the other hand, are not eager to take this issue and our success has come by a few Republicans that have pushed our issues. If the leadership got behind this we could get 99% of Republicans but once anything becomes a party issue you almost guarantee the other party will reject it just as strongly. This last go around it appears the Republicans gave us strong support (80% - Dave Heaton what the heck happened to you?????) while the Democratic Leaders wanted this killed which explains why we only got 2 votes.
I can't bring myself to vote for a Democrat knowing just how contrary to us their party has been. I can't support the Democrats knowing they believe in Single Custody with the other party (90% fathers) as a paycheck and not a parent. Yet....we can't do anything without some visionary Democrats helping us. I WILL DONATE to Democrats that really believe in this issue and we need to keep reaching out to this wayward party.
Dems & Reps have very little effect on cases at hand since no matter what we do in the law it takes decades to change the courts. HF22 proves the point. In the end, you have to win/lose cases with the prevailing laws of the land which means - once you lose custody - it stays LOST! And you go broke trying to fix it so you are "Chasing the Wind" just like Solomn wrote years ago.
Speaking of Solomn, I have to believe he would be amazed at our system of child division. I think the parent that "loses" the child while the other one SELFISHLY "KEEPS" the child demonstrates which one actually loves the child more. At least it demonstrates one that DOES NOT TRULY LOVE THE CHILD entirely because it is bad for a child to not have the other parent. So the parent the practices "Parental Alienation" and messes with their own child including preventing access to the other parent is selfish. What was the point Solomn was making about cutting the child in half? The one that would do harm to a child must not be the LOVING parent. MMMM??
There are two sides to every story. I have heard many false abuse cases and heve even found marks on my daughter where she said "Mommy pinched me". I find it very hard to belive in this system that a judge would leave a child with a good father much less one who abuses his children. If the abuse is true and you have a clean record then you should have nothing to worry about you will get your children back, just remember if the abuse is not happening and you get what you want then you are guilty of what all of our exes are doing. Children Do need both parents to get along. I hate my ex with a pashon, but I will not let my child see that hate and I try very hard to get along wich is very hard when I have to involve a lawyer to even get her to communicate with me.
Keep documentation of the abuse, pictures and everything. if somthing serious happens to your children go to every media outlit you can. with the recen rash of dead children due to DHS neglect we should be able to shut them down.
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