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Gladys DeJesus Smith-Mangan

Gladys Smith-Mangan’s Answers

19 total


  • Being harrasses through the court system,what can I do?

    I have a time sharing order with my sons father and within the past three years he has filed 5 motions for contempt of court, all for things such as him not getting my son because he showed up on Friday instead of Thursday like the order says. Pre...

    Gladys’s Answer

    I agree with the other responses. You need to file a motion that requests attorney fees, if they have not already been previously ordered. If he has to pay your attorney fees, it will discourage him from being so file-happy. There are several types of motions you can file, depending on a little more detailed information about the situation and the prior motions/hearings, so check with a local attorney to determine which is the best one for your situation.

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  • If my son's mother and I re-married, does that automatically stop the child support paid to her? If not, how do we stop it?

    My wife (girlfriend at the time) put me on child support and we have since gotten married. How do we stop child support or is it suppose to stop automatically?

    Gladys’s Answer

    It will not stop automatically. In more recent judgements, there are certain circumstances that "automatically terminate" child support, but marrying the other parent is not one of them. You will need to file with the court as soon as possible to have the support terminated. Technically, you cannot go back any earlier than the date of the filing of the petition, so time is of the essence (although if you are married, it is likely that any payments being made by virtue of the order are simply being returned to the household income anyway). If you do not handle this through the court, and you simply stop paying the child support, you will run the risk of being held in contempt by the Court, as well as having your driver's license suspended, your tax return intercepted, and various other consequences. Contact an attorney in your area for a free consultation if you need assistance and/or do not know the proper documents to file or how to fill them out.

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  • Separated for 5yrs.-pregnant by another man, who is on the birth certificate?

    I have been separated for over 5yrs., I have filed for divorce 3 times, with no avail, since I have become pregnant by my boyfriend, who goes on the baby's birth certificate? If my "husband" please let me know the best and fastest way to get this...

    Gladys’s Answer

    Your husband is the proper person to go on the birth certificate, since he will be the legal father of your child if you are married when the child is born. You and he can agree in writing to allow someone else to sign it, but this does not change that your husband is the legal father until/unless you take court action. Since the child was conceived during the marriage, you still may have an issue even if you divorce prior to the child's birth. However, if everyone is on board, getting divorced first would be your best bet. Otherwise, the complicated process referred to is because there is a two-part process involving disestablishing or terminating the rights of the "legal father," as long as the "biological father" is ready to assume responsibility for the child. If the legal father (husband) insists on raising the child for some reason, the matter is further complicated and you may have great difficulty getting the biological father to be substituted as the "legal" father. You certainly should hire an attorney to handle this for you, as it is one of the more complicated procedures in family law.

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  • Domestic violence

    if the court grants a permanent protection order/retraining order against me so I can never see my kids, can I fight it or is it already permanent. Does all permanent protection order have expiration date or is it permanent? Is it going to go to ...

    Gladys’s Answer

    I agree with the other responses in that you need to contact counsel right away. That said, I noticed you did not specify whether it was a criminal protection order or a civil one. You also didn't indicate you already had one entered against you. In either case, to answer your question, they are USUALLY ordered for a specific period of time, and if there was no violence against your children, they often set up some kind of time-sharing schedule, and specify the manner in which you will transfer and/or see the children, whether it is through a third party you both trust, supervised exchange, supervised time-sharing altogether, or in cases where it seems less dangerous, perhaps a curb-side or public pick up that involves very little, if any, contact between you and the other parent. (I'm also assuming the injunction was filed BY the other parent against YOU, and not on behalf of the children against you. These various facts can change the answer to your question.) However, in some circumstances (where there seems to be a bigger danger to the petitioner) the court may order one of these for an indefinite period of time, and it would take a new court order to modify it. In criminal cases where there are children, if the children weren't the subject of the violence, you can sometimes file a motion to allow time-sharing with the children, despite the pending criminal case. The protection order will otherwise likely last until the end of the case, until/unless modified by the Court. If it's a civil injunction, you will want to speak with an attorney about the possibility of your testimony affecting an existing, or potential, criminal case, since anything you say in domestic violence court is recorded and may be used against you in a criminal case. Sometimes it is prudent to just accept the civil one, since it is only a civil matter and doesn't create a criminal history, rather than risk going through the civil hearing and accidentally saying something that ends up harming your criminal case, thereby, in fact, resulting in a criminal record. All of these issues aside, if you are at risk of any order that stops you from seeing your children, you need to hire an attorney and do whatever you can to avoid it being entered, or to have it dismissed, if there are grounds to do so. Having a criminal OR civil injunction entered against you may affect any other family law/custody cases you have going on, and do have some other less serious, but significant, far-reaching effects. Please contact my office if you'd like to make an appointment for a free consultation.

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  • Would the courts hold it against me if I still let my ex see my son, but do not let him leave with him.

    My ex and I were never married and we do not have any sort of custodial agreement through the state.The last time I let him take him overnight, we were arguing, he became irrational andI wanted to come get my child. he would not tell me where they...

    Gladys’s Answer

    If you were not married and no order has been entered, dad has no legal right to the child at all. The police officer was wrong, but they often don't know this and are hesitant to get involved... especially if there is a birth certificate with his name on it, creating a "presumption" of paternity and is the only think a married parent would have to prove they are even the parents. As for the domestic violence, I would double check your paperwork. Usually if a domestic violence injuction or no contact order is entered, it isn't just against a "home," but against being around the VICTIM. Being around him by choice can justify him having the injunction dissolved if it's civil, as it may show you are not in reasonable fear of imminent harm anymore. As to whether the court will hold it against you if you only allow supervised visitation, that is a very fact-intensive question. The court will consider everything, including the domestic violence (however, they often don't consider DV against a parent to be indicative of how they will treat their child), the fact that you had the "legal" custody and still arranged for him to see the child in some manner or another, and any other issue either of you has raised. (I've noticed many judges are not fans of calling the police, or DCF, over time-sharing absent very severe circumstances. For example, if he has said he will leave the jurisdiction, that is a reasonable fear. You just "worrying" he will leave is not usually considered a reasonable fear.) Judges have a LOT of discretion when it comes to this, so it's not a question that can be answered with just what you've given here. They will evaluate ALL of the statutory factors for parental responsibility and time-sharing, and make a decision based on that. You should consult an attorney and discuss ALL of the other factors to get a better idea of which way a judge would lean in whether or not they would hold it against you for allowing only visitation that is supervised by you.

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  • I"m filing a exception\appeal from the magistrate in family court case, is there something i can file that keeps the children

    with me? They are afraid to go with my ex, he has an open DCF case in NY for child abuse\neglect.

    Gladys’s Answer

    A magistrate files a recommendation. It is not an order until the judge signs it. You have ten days from the date of the recommendation to file "exceptions," upon which you can obtain a hearing for the judge to review the record and either approve the magistrate's recommendation, or order it to be modified pursuant to the review of the record. Until the order is signed by the judge, whatever order existed prior to the hearing should continue in full force and effect until an "order" is signed by an actual judge. If you aren't hiring a lawyer, you need to review the rules carefully, as there are very specific rules to filing exceptions if you want them to be heard and ruled upon.

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  • Can an ex-husband prevent the ex-wife/custodial parent from moving LESS than 50 miles away in FL?

    My fiancee is the custodial parent of 2 children from her first marriage and is currently trying to get a relocation plan in place so that she can move to St. Cloud, FL after we get married. The distance is 73 miles from where she currently lives...

    Gladys’s Answer

    No, the former husband can't prevent the mother from moving LESS than fifty miles from the address she had at the time of the entry of the final judgment (or the filing of the petitin if a final judgment is not yet entered).

    However, be aware that moving a long distance, even if less than 50 miles, may constitute a substantial change in circumstances and warrant the court opening the case back up and deciding custdy (time-sharing) all over again. Especially in a case where the parties shared a substantial amount of time-sharing, if the move will make it more difficult for the non-custodial parent to exercise the time he was awarded, this will constitute a substantial change in circumstances, and the court may be able to review the case again and decide whether the child should now reside with mom where she has moved to, or dad where he lives now.

    Factors that may work against the mother are her willingness to move the child far away from the father (which the courts wouldn't typically consider a decision in the child's best interest), the fact that she first wanted to move even farther, but settled to move to another location just far enoughto be legal, but as far from dad as possible (unless you can show a valid reason for needing to move that doesn't appear to be to spite the father... i.e. moving closer to a job offer or family that will help with child care when the father can't, etc.) , and what kind of involvement the father has in the child's life now, and to what extent it would be reduced by the move. In other words, while you can legally do it, there may definitely be repercussions that could harm the mother's case in the long run.

    I would definitely speak to an attorney to confirm what is best for you given your specific circumstances.

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  • What form do i need to buy and file?

    I have been giving a final judgement from the judge to have my daughter every other weeked however the mother will not let me see her.She stated that she got motion to appeal. This was already a final judgement. Can she keep my child from me leaga...

    Gladys’s Answer

    If she was simply not following the order, you would file a motion to enforce and/or for contempt for her failure to comply with the standing order (which is effective until there is an appellate decision overturning it). However, your indication that she has withheld the child AND said she would "rather them both die than give your child to you" (as ordered) is justification enough that I would feel comfortable filing an emergency motion for pick-up order, in which you would ask for temporary custody of the child on an emergency basis, and likely supervised visitation with the mother (you would need to file a supplemental petition to make any of this a permanent change, but I would worry about the immediate emergency motion first, to protect the child from abduction or injury/death) pending a formal hearing with the court where the mother can present her side. Stress in your motion that you feel she might flee with the child or harm the child as she has outright stated a willingness to literally kill the child and herself if you are successful in exercising your rights. Worst case scenario, if the court doesn't believe you, they should at least enforce your rights to your time-sharing, and best case scenario, if the court is convinced the mother IS likely to do any of the above, you may end up getting custody of the child.

    I would contact/hire an attorney regarding this if you are able to do so. It's a delicate situation, and emergency motions are greatly scrutinized by the Court. You don't want to say the wrong thing, or fail to say the right thing with your child's safety on the line. In any case, good luck.

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  • When you have a baby do you automatically have custody?

    Just trying to find out when you have a baby do you automatically have custody of your child as a mother?

    Gladys’s Answer

    As a mother, you automatically have sole custody of the child if you are not married to the father. This means you are the only legal parent of the child, you have sole decision-making authority, and you have 100% of the time-sharing for the child(ren).

    If you are married to the father, you both have automatic equal custody. (This is true even if the child is the biological child of someone else... the husband is still the legal father, until/unless certain things take place to change that.)

    There is a "presumption" of paternity (being "considered" the legal father) in certain circumstances, such as where the unmarried biological father signed the birth certificate, and many schools, physicians, and law enforcement officers may accept it as proof of "paternity," but a court order of paternity is required to make that presumption a formal establishment of the father as the "legal" father. Without it, he has no formal legal rights to the child.

    Please note that this is simply regarding the "legal" establishment of the father as a parent, but that court orders may still determine which parent(s) have "parental responsibility" (basically, decision-making authority) and time-sharing (which is what most people tend to think of when they ask about "custody"). Paternity can be established, but a court can still order that only one parent have "parental responsibility" (legal custody) and may grant a majority of time-sharing to one parent, or in rare and drastic cases, even order supervised or no time-sharing.

    (Florida used to assign a "primary residential parent," and this is what many people formerly considered "custody." However, this language was removed around 2008, and now there is no "primary" parent. There is simply shared or sole parental responsibility (legal custody), and a parenting plan with time-sharing set out for each parent.)

    You should speak with an attorney regarding the specifics of your case, including whether you are/were married to the father, whether he signed the birth certificate, and the potential consequences on a future custody action if you take advantage of being the "sole" custodial parent. You also need to be aware that the unmarried biological father, while not having legal custody, does have certain statutory rights, such as you being obligated to provide him notice of certain legal events (such as an attempt at adoption, and most proceedings involving custody and/or responsibility for the child(ren)). Further, if the father has registered with the putative father registry, his rights are further protected. Speak to a family law attorney before you rely on this answer in making any decisions, as many factors, not limited to those I've mentioned, can affect the response to your question.

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  • What laws or rights are there for divorced parents and deciding who is around the children?

    I did not have an attorney in our divorce(now is not time to tell me I should have had one) & in the order was slipped language stating until time I am the exclusive occupant residing in the husbands home visitation shall not include overnights. I...

    Gladys’s Answer

    There is not an automatic right "to determine who the other parent dates and/or brings around the child." However, if you allowed such language into a settlement agreement and/or judgment, it very well may operate to interfere with your personal companion choices, and you will be bound by it until/unless you have it modified. Modification can be accomplished either by the two of you stipulating in writing (this will work on its own if there was a provision stating you could both agree to modify the terms in writing, but will otherwise need the judge to sign off on it), or by filing a petition to modify this provision. However, the peittion to modify will need to show a substantial change in circumstances that was not know or foreseeable at the time of the judgment. For example, if it does not contain a provision that marriage is an exception to this, and you can argue that you were not planning to marry again, but are now engaged, this might qualify as a substantial change warranting the modification. You should meet with a local attorney to go over the specific language of your judgment, its effect, and whether/how it can be modified.

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