Attorney Tricia Dwyer: Trusted, Confidential, Reliable, Prompt, Assertive, Super Care. In most of her family law cases, Attorney Dwyer is the only lawyer involved; she knows this is Your Family, Your Life. Attorney Tricia Dwyer has been rated 'Superb' and Perfect Reviews multiple years (Avvo).
LEGAL QUESTIONS & ATTORNEY DWYER'S ANSWERS:
Legal question: I have a job in MN & pay child support. I just took a 2nd job with a Wisconsin employer, & MN child support has started taking a cut from my WI pay. Wrong?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER I'd need to know fuller details about this; for instance, is your issue that wages/pay is being wrongfully/improperly taken from you (or, are you just wondering whether child support payments can be taken from non-MN employers?). Do you owe arrears/arrearages?
Legal question: My court Order doesn't say which parent drives. My ex- says I need to do it and is nasty. What's the law?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S REPLY: Hello. Excellent questions. My reply here is limited. If your court Order doesn't state 'who drives', then, just as you said, the matter is unclear, ambiguous. When I am helping a parent, I find out from my client whether the 2 parents 'get along' generally; if the parents have a history of discord, then, when I write a proposed court Order for the Judge/Referee, I write terms and wording that are as clear and specific and unambiguous as possible. One factor to keep in mind is that gasoline & other car expenses can be very expensive; it may be fair & equitable to make a 'deviance' (upward 'departure' or downward 'departure') in monthly child support.
Legal question: If there's a mediation about visitation, do I have the right to have a lawyer at my side?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: This is partial, not at all complete, reply.People, parents, have the right to be represented by an attorney. When custody, parenting time, or visitation is to be discussed, one, or both, parents may well want to be represented by an attorney. For instance, medication is a voluntary process, and it's hoped it can 'work', but one or both parents can 'opt out' of any mediation, and a parent may decide to halt a mediation that is underway. A key consideration is whether there is a dynamic between the parents of domestic violence or emotional abuse, 'power and control'. Another key consideration is whether one parent has any sort of mental health concern, such as Anxiety or PTSD, or has a personality disorder such as Narcissism, or even Sociopath/Psychopath (e.g., lies, cheats, no remorse, no regard for others, etc.) And one more key factor is alcoholism or drug use/abuse; it is 'normal' that a person who's in the recovery process may feel uncertain, unsure of oneself, 'shaky'.
Legal question: I was ordered to have a chem' eval' 6 mos. ago but didn't get it done. Judge had ordered in patient. So I got the new 'eval', and it says out pt. and I did that. Ex now says I didn't do the Order and can't see the kids. I called a bunch of lawyers & got told the word motion. ??
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER:Hello. A caution to you: Always beware so called 'free advice' - it can be entirely wrong - Over the years, I've seen that, and so called 'online charities' (such as 'fathers' rights' charities) cause people awful problems, and loss of a lot of money. You wrote of a court Order; sometimes more than one Order may apply to a particular legal problem. As to Chemical Dependency/Abuse Assessments (CDA's), one done months ago may vary markedly from one done today, for many reasons. Based on what you stated, my impression is that you'd be wise to keep distance from the other parent - always demonstrate respect. Changing a court Order happens by the Court (Judge, Referee) changing the present Order or Orders. If you're low income or otherwise financially stressed, please call 211 and ask what legal resources are available for the county involved (and the county in which you reside, if the 2 are different).
LEGAL QUESTION: Bio mom & I make a parenting contract 3 months ago. She now wants changes put in writing. She says my mother interferes whatever that means. I cringe at the word lawyer or lawyers. What's best to do?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER:Hello. Fuller detail would need to be known. I am all for peaceful, low key resolution, lowering 'the heat' not escalating it; and I strongly empathize with your desire to 'stay away from lawyers' :-) That said, your wrote of a 'contract' - private? a court Order? How did that 'contract' come to be - mom and dad? lawyer? lawyers? 'mediation'? 'mediator'? 'mediators'? 'collaborative law'? As to lawyers: In the event you choose lawyer help with this - or any other legal problem - I urge you be a good consumer - make phone calls, send emails - always remember lawyers are human beings & I guarantee you that each and every lawyer is different from the next!
LEGAL QUESTION: My ex pays me $746 per month child support for our 18 y old and 11 y old. She told me it's half that now because our eldest turned age 18. Truth?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. A starting point is reading the child support Order itself. It is good you appear to know that your ex shouldn't be the one you turn to for legal advice.
Legal question: I've decided to divorce & we've got 4 little children. We stopped paying the mtg. He won't agree. I don't qualify for any charity. I don't want to leave the home.
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. This is an incomplete answer - if I were helping you, I'd talk with you, ask you various questions, to learn fuller facts and details. One question in my mind is how old these little kids are. Another question in my mind is whether you think you and your spouse will reach an agreement. Be aware, please, that there is not 'one way to divorce' - a subset of divorcing people have full agreement. I also wonder if you have tension in your home. I wonder if there's any history of domestic violence or emotional abuse. You wrote you'd checked into 'charity' sort of help, and I'd ask you some questions about that-who you've contacted, and over what time frame. I expect that I might talk with you about you having limited, or highly limited lawyer help, and reduced fee for financial hardship. I might describe to you what the terms 'unbundled lawyer'/'limited scope lawyer' mean. I'd ask you about your family finances-you mentioned not paying the mortgage. Take care - I hope you and your kids enjoy your new life.
LEGAL QUESTION: Judge has evidentiary custody trial set for 4 wks. from now. I'm trying to get a lawyer & was advised I need more time.
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: This is a partial reply, because a full reply could easily take hours :-) First: If you are going to have attorney help now, I urge you make phone calls pronto, talk to as many lawyers as possible, and choose one att'y you feel you can trust. How many calls? As many as it takes! You are in the greater Twin Cities, 100s upon 100s of lawyers. Some of us will provide reduced fee if you have financial hardship. Second: You 'were advised'? Always, always be wary of any and all so called 'free advice'. When I help people, for YOUR protection & best interest (and mine), always, at least a very brief, written agreement in place & we are in the Attorney-Client relationship, & I give legal advice on which my Client can rely. Third: Look at your own legal papers. For an 'evidentiary hearing/trial', unless mistake happened, the Judge/Court Referee would have made a written court Order that states specific deadlines (dates), and that Order will be very, very clear & specific.
LEGAL QUESTION: The mom of our kids has custody. A paper says she can make important medical decisions herself, no input from me. What about medical records-she won't give me those?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. Excellent questions. I am not sure from what paper you are reading. It does sound as though you have a court Order - one or more court Orders - that discuss custody, parenting time, etc.; if so, please go to the end of that legal paperwork and you should see a legal paper that is called 'APPENDIX A'. That paper will specifically address the matter of child medical records.
LEGAL QUESTION: I hired a lawyer for a Motion to Change Custody. The judge ruled on two things, & ordered us to go to mediation for six undecided major problems. She's stalling, canceling, imo scamming. Eight whole months now. What to do. ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. Excellent questions! The question is 'what is reasonable'. Even if none of the specific differences/issues between the two of you are not urgent ones, eight mos. is not reasonable. If you aren't proactive to correct a possible 'wrongdoing', 'stalling' (by the other party) could go on even up to the time your kid/kids are grownups. Yes, we have COVID-19, flu and RSVirus, but most - perhaps nearly all - mediation is done remotely (eg, Zoom) at this time, not in person. There are 100s upon 100s upon 100s of 'mediators'. I myself am a credentialed child custody mediator, as well as child custody attorney. General tips: When you are choosing a mediator know they are NOT AT ALL the same'!! There are least 4 major types of 'mediation' types/styles/forms; I myself was trained in a highly respectful type of mediation known as Transformative Mediation or Real Mediation. I urge you have all mediators you are considering email you current resumes/bios', and current detailed statements describing real, actual mediations in which they have participated, date by date. Also remember every mediator is a human being - all of us have biases, some are known as 'Implicit Biases' - some of us are far more aware of biases and prejudices human beings to which each of us is subject than others. I urge DO be a good consumer and make phone calls, etc., do the legwork involved in knowing exactly who it is you've chosen to help you. And always beware so called free advice.
Legal question: I am single mom of a 4 y old. The bio' dad smokes cigs' & I think he's a marijuana dealer. Bio' dad told me he's going to get custody; what's truth?
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: Hello. General principles are that unmarried/single mothers, by law, are Mom/parent of a child born to them; in other words, a single mom who gives birth does not have to 'prove' she's the mom. However, unmarried men's legal rights are not 'automatic' or 'presumed', but, rather, are determined through law.
When custody and parenting time, or visitation (supervised or unsupervised), is in issue the question is always about what is best for this child, i.e., what serves the best interest of this tot/baby/kid.
Based on what you described, it sounds as though it is not helpful to YOU to be communicating with this person now; YOU are single parent, single mom, and it's best for YOU and your kid/kids that you have as low stress a daily life as possible.
I suggest you consider having formal legal advice from an attorney whom you choose - if I were helping you, I'd learn fuller facts of the situation from you, and then, just as I'd want if I asked you to help me, I'd tell you straight up what seems best for you and your family. In my own work I will provide reduced fee for need. Another option is you 'wait and see', but IMO that's not the best option of the two. Take care!
LEGAL QUESTION: I live alone with my 13 month old. The dad is in Florida; the dad has seen our child for literally maybe 7 minutes, and I paid for me to fly down there and stay in a hotel. He wants me to fly to meet his parents next, in Virginia. No child support?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. I hope you have some help with this. You stated you're a single parent of a very young toddler. It's very important that you have your life stress kept as low as possible - being a parent is an incredibly time consuming and stressful task. It sounds as though it's possible you're the sort of person who tries to 'take care of everyone' - just a thought which you should of course disregard if incorrect. You also wrote of you paying many items out of your own pocket; if I were assisting you, I'd talk more about that with you. I feel utmost compassion for you; you are tenderly caring for your child single handedly. I absolutely support you in setting down rules onto paper; from what you described, if I were helping you, I'd do my utmost to be clear, plain and unambiguous and protect you and your baby. Take care.
Legal question: I'm a dad and I want my kids with me, full sole legal and physical custody. Mother unfit and unsafe.
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: In my work, I help Fathers, or Mothers motion or petition for 100 percent custody of the children. Options and choices for full or limited help. Pay as you go approach in nearly all cases. Legal question: I want to get sole custody from my ex- but he's an addict, no address, and missing. How can I serve him?
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: If I were to help you, I'd need to know fuller detail. For instance, is this some sort of restraining order action such as harassment or an OFP (Order for Protection petition)? If it's what's known as a 'motion', one first step is that I'd review the existing legal documents.
LEGAL QUESTION: I'm divorced & ugly custody battle. For some reason judge won't let me be with the kids now!. ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: More detail would need to be known. Perhaps what has happened is that an 'Ex Parte' (Latin, means 'one-side', or 'one-party') decision has been made; if so, look on the legal paperwork for a court date/time, because a hearing ought to be scheduled, to take place asap. Note: Often court takes place over Zoom at this time (COVID-19, flu, MRVirus), but not always. I definitely urge you to consider having lawyer help right away. A subset of private lawyers may provide reduced fee if there's financial hardship. Always remember each and every lawyer is different from the next. Another point to remember is that people tend to gravitate toward people 'like them'; in other words, concerns about custody of kids does not have to be war fyi ('battle'). Be a good consumer of lawyer services; ideally you want to feel utmost safety and trust with the one you choose to help you. Always beware so called 'free advice', too.
LEGAL QUESTION: I've had a private agreement for 4 years with my ex. He's supposed to pay 1/2 the sports costs but he doesn't, and he usually no shows! He'll skip church and special school and church activities. Help. ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER:If it's any comfort, the specific issues you named are ones that are a part of my work as a family law/custody/divorce lawyer, and mediator. I offer you compassion. You wrote that all's private 'agreement'. If you should begin legal paperwork with the court about this, no lawyer can tell you exactly what will be determined or decided; each and every case is unique. And judges and court referees are given great discretion to discern what will serve the best interest of each child. A few general tips: I suggest you divide the problems into 2 parts, one part 'money matters', and the other part custody and what happens during parenting time. If I were helping you, I'd talk with you to get an idea of what the core issues actually are, for instance, power and control?, anger about the past?, jealousy?, passive-aggression - gaslighting?. Is one unreasonable? Any third parties, such as meddling grandparent, BF/GF, etc.? My own approach when helping a parent such as you is that I will tell you straight up what my impression is - just as if I came to you and asked you to help me, I'd want you to tell me straight what you thought. I'd tell you what I thought seemed best to do, for the situation. If I were to help you, I do my best to de-escalate, not worsen matters. If you choose to have lawyer help at this time, you may contact local legal aid if you're indigent/low income/poor. 211 is the United Way and if you tell them your zip code they ought to tell you of any special legal assistance sorts of programs for your area. In my work I can provide reduced fee to people who have financial stress, and I very much like to help my clients in limited ways that curb and contain any lawyer expense. Take care.
Legal question: What happens if a child support case has started & a parent's gotten charged with felony child abuse?
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: If I were helping you, fuller details would need to be known to give you general guidance - who has the kid/kids? who's the petitioner? is the child abuse about the kid/kids in the child support case? etc., etc.
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