I thought I was having issues with my fifteen year old daughter based on the fact that she's a teen from a broken home and there is no consistency between the two homes as far as boundaries, limits, rules, respect.....There's been quite a bit of drama for the last 18 months or so. I enrolled the two of us in a research study at SDSU Psych lab for family coping about the time the behaviors started. On our final interview on March 8, 2019, the researchers counseled and advised me to get a mental health evaluation for my daughter as they highly suspect her to have a personality disorder. They cautioned me to be on my guard as they felt I had become her object of hatred and was at risk of being harmed. They also cautioned me to get the eval as quickly as possible. I should mention, I have sole legal and physical custody. In working with insurance and my daughter's pediatrician to find a mental health provider, I was finally able to schedule her eval last week, but she refused to go. I was able to get her phone and in reading back over her correspondence with her father, it appears they are on a vendetta. What I have learned is they would like to prove that I am unstable and abusive. Their goal is to take away my sole legal and physical custody and have me serve jail time. They have set up a room for her at his parents' house (he lives in a toy hauler trailer) and she's been living there while on his visitation time while he lives in another town in his trailer. Her living there has been without my knowledge until March 21, 2019, when I was able to look at her phone and learn this for myself.
Her behaviors escalated even more this evening as soon as he dropped her off from his scheduled visitation. She was ransacking my home and physically pushing me and my son, her brother, around. I called the non-emergency police number to have a service call to document what she was doing since I'm now on my guard about her claiming that I am abusing her. She called her dad to pick her up and even though he lives in another town, he was here in a few minutes. He videotaped picking her up and yelled out to me that the abuse is going to stop.
Over the last couple of months, she has moved out all her "valuables" to his parents' home. She has kept a keyed, locking doorknob on her bedroom door and I have not had access. This evening, after she left with her father, I found her room mostly empty. Over the last few months, when she would normally just take a purse, she'd been packing bags to go to his visitation and told me it was none of my business what she had in the bags. To say our situation has been horrible would be an understatement.
Do I have any legal rights or standing to get a mental health evaluation for my daughter and treatment if needed? I have an intake appointment rescheduled for this coming Wednesday. Do I have to file a motion in family court (where would she live in the meantime?) and are there any repercussions to her father for keeping her when it is clearly not his visitation and in fact, he has been encouraging her behavior to try a create a case? While I'm not sure I would be safe in my own home with her here, aren't I, as her legal and custodial parent, able to choose who she lives with if it is not me? Am I liable for any damages she may cause while with her father? I am not able to afford an attorney and I appreciate any help you can give.
1 Answer from Attorneys
You aren’t going to get the help you need for issues of this magnitude on the internet. You need to hire an attorney. IMMEDIATELY and most likely get an emergency motion on file.