Mr. Port is correct. New York does not have jurisdiction. Although I don't know the rules and procedures in Canada, it seems unfair that a Judge would not allow telephone appearances if, in fact, you cannot enter the jurisdiction. (I am assuming that you are somehow banned from entering, rather than avoiding an outstanding warrant). I guess you could hire a Canadian attorney to appear on your behalf. Good luck.
The short answer is, you should file for custody. If the mother is, in fact, of limited mental capacity, and the safety of your son rests on her residing with the grandparents, a move would be the sort of change in circumstances which might give rise to a change of custody. Be prepared for a fight. The fact that her parents are also concerned---and, presumably, would testify on your behalf helps your case. Good luck.
I agree with the previous answers. However, I think 15 min. is reasonable. A half hour is pushing it. Anything more is unreasonable. I have never seen a court put more than a half hour in an order. Also, a phone call to let the other parent know that one is running late, or is stuck in traffic, is the appropriate thing to do.
Are you not eligible for 18B counsel? If your income is low---usually under $26,000--- you should qualify. If it is above that, it is presumed that you can afford counsel. Some judges are more strict with the guidelines than others.
The standard in child custody proceedings is what is in the child's best interest. Your boyfriend's criminal record, in and of itself, will not lose you custody. It may be a factor considered by the court if the father files for custody.
I agree with Mr. Bliven. If it was a conditional surrender, conditioned on the children being adopted by a particular person, and that person is no longer able or willing to adopt, then you may have a chance. You should consult with an attorney right away.
I have never before heard of a person going pro se on a TPR. That was a HUGE mistake. While I don't like to challenge the information given in a question, the Family Court is an open forum. While, generally, the courtrooms are not built to accommodate the public, the doors are usually unlocked. I find it hard to imagine (absent a security issue) why a courtroom would be locked during a TPR trial.
I'm going to be the contrarian here. You indicate that when there was an OP, he didn't communicate with you. That is a sensible thing to do in order to avoid any confrontation. Now that there is no OP, he "has been harrassing [you] once every so often." He may simply be calling to discuss the child and you are interpreting that as harrassment. It does not sound like he is presently doing anything wrong. Try to move forward in a more harmonious way for the benefit of the child.
I agree with Mr. Bliven, a seasoned family law attorney that I've worked with and against on numerous occasions. Joint custody delineates the rights of each parent in the rearing of the child. The issue of relocation is one with a high burden. Even if you had sole custody and the father merely had visitation, you would have to show a compelling reason for the court to approve your move out of State and denying the father regular and meaningful contact with his child.
This is the type of...