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Charles Berg Bauer

Charles Bauer’s Answers

67 total


  • Is there anything I can legally do?

    I have a 5and7 yr old Who visit their father in a different state a couple times a year.The last time he had them he didn't let me talk to them for about a week.He wouldn't return my calls or text.They are visiting him and we are having the same i...

    Charles’s Answer

    The circumstance you have described is unfortunately pretty common. When parents live long distances apart, kids are often in a difficult spot when a long-distance parent only has a little bit of time with them. The parent who has the kids almost all the time (you) will often want to stay in touch with them, even when they're gone for short periods, but the parent who rarely gets to see them will interpret your actions as trying to 'interfere' with his time.

    If the two parents are able to talk about their issues, either directly with each other, or with the help of a qualified mental health professional or mediator, that can often be very helpful. But of course I realize that's unrealistic for many divorced parents, or parents who never were married. The courts are a last resort but too often they are the 'first resort' in these situations, and that's shame because the court system can make broad rules, but it doesn't do very well micromanaging people's behavior.

    Working to develop some basis for communication with the other parent would be a good first step here, such as setting out your concerns in a clearly worded letter (or email) which would invite him to respond. Beyond that, you could always meet with an experienced family law attorney to receive a full evaluation of your concerns and what possible legal remedies there are for you.

    For example, if you feel that the court order is being violated by their actions, you would want to discuss this with a legal professional before attempting to proceed, as contempt of court for violation of a custody order can be a complicated matter to pursue, particularly against someone out of state.

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  • I need help with custody cases with my 2 son's, there is 2 different cases and its my parents filing against me.

    This is a really long story. So I want to try to get custody back of my oldest son, my parents were granted temporary custody because I was not ready for court, I didn't have the correct paperwork so they gave them custody. I also recently just fo...

    Charles’s Answer

    It's good that you are seeking to get some professional advice in regard to your children. Of course, a website like AVVO which connects you anonymously over the internet with legal professionals, while somewhat helpful (I hope), is never going to replace having a personal meeting with a qualified local attorney who is familiar with your local courts, and so forth. Most family law attorneys are willing (these days) to at least talk to you briefly on the phone, without charge (or for a nominal charge) so be sure to keep trying to find someone local.

    As for your question, the law is pretty clear in all states that a parent has the right to the care and custody of their children unless a court says otherwise, as compared to any third party. So, apparently a court HAS made a ruling about your older child, but from what you say, there is NO order giving your youngest to your parents (or to anyone else) which means that unless you agree, no third party has a legal right to keep your child from you.

    Whether or not they have "filed" a case is not the issue. Filing of a case merely means they are asking for an order, but until they are actually given a court order for the custody of your youngest child, you still should have the legal right to the custody of that child. The fact that you left the child with them for a period of time does NOT change that legal right (although it might make it a little easier for them to eventually get a court order).

    I will not give you specific direction on what you 'should' to because that's a decision only you can make, based on all the information in the situation. But from what you have said, there's no legal right for your parents to withhold that child from you, at least until they are granted a valid court order giving them custody.

    I hope you are able to contact a qualified local family law attorney, and again urge you to do so before deciding on a course of action.

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  • How to adopt my grand children legally

    My daughter has the legal custody of her three children. We talked about that she will allow me to adopt her children because getting her degree. How long is the process and how much would it be to file an adoption?

    Charles’s Answer

    The adoption process is typically not what families in this situation would use; rather, the other way to obtain legal custody of children not born to you is through a Guardianship, which is not as "permanent" as an adoption, and thus, is usually a bit easier to do.

    Plus, the adoption process, in addition to being 'permanent' also requires the legal Termination of Parental Rights for both biological parents, and if both parents aren't willing to consent to that, you need a legal reason to terminate their rights, such as abandonment. Terminating the parental rights of a parent is very serious legal proceeding and a parent who does not want their rights terminated is entitled to a free public defender if they cannot afford a lawyer.

    By comparison, although the guardianship process does require a consent from the biological parents, or it requires a a court to find they are unfit, the biological parent is NOT guaranteed a free lawyer. Plus, a guardianship can be "undone" if/when you all might decide that your daughter is able to resume the care of her kids.

    I responded to your question even though I'm not an actively licensed attorney in Washington state, because guardianship and adoption proceedings are fairly similar from state to state, but you should speak with an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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  • What is a pretrial conference?

    i have a child custody(parenting plan) case open last court date was in oct.21 2014 my next trial was set until aug.03.2015 which is soon now, but i received a letter about pretrial and i am not sure what it is for?

    Charles’s Answer

    A "pretrial conference" is something most all courts do in every state, in one form or another, to gather the parties (or their attorneys, usually both parties and the attorneys) at the courthouse and the judge asks about the status of the case (whether there is a settlement or not, what the issues are, who the witnesses will be, and so forth).

    It is very critical for your case that you make sure you ATTEND such a conference. Even if you aren't quite sure what to say, it's very important that you are present. If you are not present, the court might consider that you are no longer interested in the case, and might dismiss your claims or your opposition to the other side's claims.

    Good luck in your case, and if at all possible, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney in person about your case before the pretrial conference.

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  • How does it work when the child support order / parenting plan reverts to the the state that originally issued it?

    We divorced in Oregon in 2011, and then we both moved to different states. The mother recently moved back to oregon. When the orders are registered back in with Oregon (in 4 months) do the terms of the original order apply? (Joint legal, ...

    Charles’s Answer

    You've asked a fairly technical question, probably beyond what a general site like 'Avvo' is designed to address, but I will give some general observations. First, matters of interstate custody and child support are actually somewhat uniform among the states because of uniform laws which all states have adopted in one form or another, so my being an Idaho attorney does not necessarily disqualify me from commenting on this question.

    However, you should speak with a licensed family law attorney in Oregon, where your original decree was entered, and where, as you say, your ex has now returned. But I can say that it appears you may be mixing two entirely separate concepts in your question. Every custody or support order has two distinct aspects or 'sides'---there is the "enforcement" side, that is, the matter of enforcing the terms of the order in the event of disobedience or violation of the order; and the "modification" side, that is, the matter of who can "change" the order. The power to "change" an order is called "modification jurisdiction" and that is an area of law that even experienced attorneys are sometimes confused about.

    Generally, when parties to a custody or support order leave a 'decree state,' it is up to one of them to 'register' the order elsewhere to either enforce it, or try to modify it. But as long as one of the parents remains in the 'decree state, the original decree state has the exclusive power to change or modify the order.

    Your question is whether a registration would be required if both parents left the Decree state, and then one moves back. Does that parent have to 'register' in the original decree state? Probably not, as long as there were no proceedings in the interim when both parties were gone from the decree state. But I'm aware of some court rulings that suggest the departure of all the parties from the original decree state makes that state's jurisdiction "evaporate"---and the return of a party to that state MIGHT indeed require registration in order to modify.

    So, as you can see, this is a question for an experienced family law attorney in the state where you think litigation might occur, in this case, Oregon.

    In closing, however, I will say that you seem to be concerned that there may be some kind of 'secret' action attempted, but I assure you that no court will be able to validly change the existing order unless you are given prior notice of the proceeding, and the opportunity to appear and fight it, if you wish to do so.

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  • Do I need to get rid of my firearms with a temporary ex-parte protection order based on false claims?

    I am in a divorce and received a temporary ex-parte protection order containing false claims. I have not been convicted, arrested, or charged with anything and the allegations on in the sworn statement attached to the order are grossly exaggerated...

    Charles’s Answer

    An ex parte protection order is only valid for 14 days, until a hearing is held, and does not trigger the restrictions of federal law unless it is extended after a full hearing where you have the opportunity to present your side of the story. The restrictions will apply if the DVPO is entered after a hearing but from your question it appears the hearing hasn't occurred yet.

    You must talk to an experienced family law attorney if you can so that you are prepared to present your evidence at the hearing which you are entitled to before a permanent or long term protection order is entered against you, which would affect your ability to possess firearms under federal law.

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  • My two sons ages 15 and 13 no longer want to see their dad. We live in Oregon. Do they have a legal right to refuse him visits?

    I have full custody. No parenting plan in place. At time of divorce, 8 yrs ago, X phoned in to court for proceedings. Dad is an alcoholic off and on the wagon. They have seen him on a stretcher twice in withdrawal, seizures. Eldest son had to ad...

    Charles’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    This is a 'loaded' question, meaning it is frequently asked, and frequently answered in ways that can cause problems for people. You are wise to reach out for some (hopefully) better information than you might get from your friends or co-workers, but you would be wiser still to speak personally with an experienced family law attorney in Oregon where you live.

    I'm writing a response to you, even though I'm not an Oregon attorney, because of the obvious urgency and because this question is not necessarily something that depends on local law in Oregon, but rather, is handled in similar ways by most family law courts around the country.

    First, Family law generally directs that parents are to follow valid custody orders, and that parents are the ones who have the responsibility for minor children, to see that the children's actions are consistent with the order. If the Custody Order is wrong or mistaken, or out of date, it is the responsibility of the parent who believes it's wrong to return to the court with information and proper documentation to request a change in the order, rather than just ignoring the order.

    But sometimes when there are emergencies, there's not a lot of time to go back to court, or because the process can be expensive, folks sometimes fail to do what they're "supposed" to do to change the orders (although now days there are forms online widely available to present requests to the court in the proper way, without an attorney).

    What are referred to as "refusal to visit" cases with older kids represent some of the most difficult and contentious cases which family law courts and lawyers have to deal with. "Why" a kid is refusing to visit is always the question, and the inherent difficulty in trying to make an older teen do something they don't want to do makes these cases especially tough. If, as you seem to be saying, there are obvious safety issues for the kids, you may have grounds for an immediate Order or relief from the court along the lines of an "Order of Protection" or "Protection from abuse Order" which you should investigate immediately if you fear for your children's safety.

    But more generally, if there's no safety problem, but rather, it's just kids who have become so oppositional that they won't visit at all, here's what I have seen in 30+ years of doing these cases.

    Judges do not like the idea of giving kids "the right to refuse visits" and will not do that, typically. They're reasoning is based on the fact that kids don't run the show. One reason they shouldn't "run the show" is they can be easily manipulated, and putting them in the middle of parental conflict is a terrible idea, so asking or allowing them to "refuse" a visit is universally regarded as a bad idea. But. If a child is genuinely in danger, what should you as a parent do? Certainly it is unlikely that any law enforcement agency is going to get involved, and no law enforcement agency that I've ever talked to is EVER going to take a child from one parent and forcibly give them to the other parent, without a SPECIFIC court order for that to occur (which does not exist in your situation). Also, a parent who is legitimately seeking to protect a child from harm will normally be able to avoid prosecution for the variety of statutes which exist in many states for what is called "custodial interference." Plus, even if the dangerous parent is intent on getting law enforcement involved, the most that would be reasonably expected would be for them to cite or charge the parent who is allegedly not complying with the visitation. And if that parent (you) can show they are protecting the children from harm by not sending them to visitation, as I say above, most prosecutors are not going to pursue that.

    So, I realize this is a longer answer than what you may have expected, but I will close with a repeated request that you seek out and speak to an experienced family law attorney regarding this matter.

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  • S5000 retainer for Seattle divorce \ family law attorney: too much?

    I was about to drop the last $5000 I've got on a retainer for a divorce \ family attorney. Just about everyone I've talked to says that is a really high number. I now know of a few people in my situation around here that see numbers like $1500-$20...

    Charles’s Answer

    Price-shopping for some things in life can work well. "Never pay retail" is some people's mantra about everything. But price shopping for a divorce lawyer? Absolute worst thing you can do. Talk to one or two people you respect, who have been through a divorce, and ask them if they would judge an attorney by the lowest retainer? They will tell you (probably) that they found a low-down-payment attorney, and have regretted it for the rest of their lives.

    Here's a tip---If you have a lawyer friend or acquaintance (and who doesn't?) first, make sure they are NOT a divorce lawyer, then, second, ask them for two names of attorneys who THEY would hire for THEIR custody case. Then go hire one of them.

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  • I couldn't make it to court because I was in the hospital. A warrant was issued. Do I need a lawyer?

    It's for a child support case. They wanted me at court because I was out of work for a few months and I missed some child support payments. I'm working now and I've been able to make a few payments.

    Charles’s Answer

    A lawyer would likely be able to help you, yes. But from what you describe, it sounds like you have been charged with contempt of court, for not appearing at the time you were directed to appear. If that's the case, and a warrant has been issued, it's also possible that you could handle the warrant by making a copy of any documentation you may have which shows when you were in the hospital, and then calling the Judge's Clerk and asking for a time to "Appear" on the warrant and explain why you couldn't appear.

    The point of the warrant is simply to compel your appearance, and so if you contact them with this information about why you couldn't appear, it's possible they will simply schedule a time when you can appear.

    If you are now making payments on your obligation for support, that will also be in your favor, so try to take some documentation of that as well.

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  • I am behind on child support. I have been out of work for a year and the monthly dues were calculated when I was making $80,000

    At that time my ex- only worked 4 hours a day and now is back full time making around 60,000$ . I have been told to get with her and and have an agreement on past due amount and that she can stop the formal process- they have suspended my DL. She ...

    Charles’s Answer

    My esteemed colleague from the great state of California is correct, but all is not lost---you always have the right to ask the court to modify your child support based on accurate and current information. In Idaho, most county courthouses have "courthouse Assistance Offices" where they have legal forms if you are not able to hire an attorney. BUT YOU SHOULD TRY TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY---because that's your best chance of getting the order corrected and getting back on track.

    The child support agencies, as you have learned, are not in existence to help YOU, they are primarily interested in enforcing what a court order says, and so your remedy is to get the court order updated and modified to take into account both parents' accurate incomes.

    There's not much you can do about the past support due---that's almost certainly water under the bridge, but the sooner you get something filed with the court, the sooner you can get the modification that you need. Remember---the court only has authority to change a child support order "prospectively," that is, going forward. You can 'retroactively' modify the amount you owe, but you can correct the order for future months. Plus, the change that you seek will only date from when you FILE THE CASE with the court---so that's why you need to get something filed as soon as you can.

    I hope this is helpful.

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