Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

how to stop ex from ''stealing'' the kids by using the system

my husband and I have been separated for 7 months, I have custody of our 2 daughters and he has our son.. he called child protective services and alleged abuse, they found none. So he filed a protective order on behalf of the children.. He has threatened to continue to do these things until I give him the girls, how can I stop him? or what can I do to prevent this from going further?

Asked on 8/18/01, 9:39 am

5 Answers from Attorneys

Lisa Lane McDevitt McDevitt Law Office

Re: how to stop ex from ''stealing'' the kids by using the system

The best offense is a defense. Keep records of all of his threats and try to have witnesses that could testify to his threats.

But all that aside, the most important thing is to protect your children. You should file for custody immediately and let the court decide since his behavior obviously shows us that there is no way he's going to turn over custody.

If you have any questions, give me a call at 301-652-0663.

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Answered on 8/21/01, 4:59 pm

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

Re: how to stop ex from ''stealing'' the kids by using the system

Do not be intimidated by your husband's attempts to obtain a protective order if there's no merit to his charges. In order to get a protective order, he'll have to sign a sworn statement under penalty of perjury that he has evidence that you are engaging in child abuse or that there is a real threat of that to the children. He has to convince a judge that his evidence is credible enough to warrant inssuing an order directing you to appear in court for a hearing. If it gets that far, you'll have an opportunity to present evidence refuting the charges. You can bring in a witness from child protective services who investigated his allegations previously and found them to be baseless. If you incur expense, such as legal fees in defending yourself against these charges, you could sue him for abuse of process, but this would be an expensive process as well.

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Answered on 8/20/01, 3:17 pm
Carolyn Press Chung & Press. P.C.

Re: how to stop ex from ''stealing'' the kids by using the system

It isn't clear whether you have custody of the girls, and your husband has custody of the boy, by court order or by some kind of initial agreement. If there is not yet a court order for custody, you can file for custody in the circuit court and deal with the issue there. If he keeps filing for protective orders and reporting bogus child abuse allegations, you can ask the court to impose sanctions based on Maryland Rule 1-341. The court can order him to pay your court costs and reasonable expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees, for the litigation if his conduct in the action is found to be in bad faith or without substantial justification. If he gets socked with the cost of your attorney a few times it is likely to put a stop to the court actions. And, since the courts frown on the use of the courts in that way, it may strengthen your claim for custody (of all of the children if that is what you want).

Once you have a court order for custody, it becomes more difficult for him to get it changed.

Just be the best parent you can be, and his threats should amount to nothing.

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Answered on 8/20/01, 3:23 pm
G. Joseph Holthaus III Law Offices of G. Joseph Holthaus

Re: how to stop ex from ''stealing'' the kids by using the system

Without doubt, his meritless claims are more than just annoying; however, they ultimately will benefit your case. You must preserve evidence regarding the

frivilous nature of his claims. You may recover costs incurred where you bring suit

for his mis-use of process; however, this would be a separate suit.

I suspect that your estranged husband is getting advice from someone who is telling him that he will not have to pay child support and

will be able to claim tax deductions if he has custody. This may be true but these reasons alone do not support a determination that it is in the "best interest"

of any of the children to be in his custody.

I suggest you contact an attorney for assistance with this matter. Baseless allegations almost never benefit the party making them. The assistance of an attorney will bring

the facts to light so that an optimum decision can be reached for you and your children. It is important that you take action now to prevent him from stealing more than he already has...

DISCLAIMER: Nothing within this correspondence is intended to constitute legal advice and no inference should be taken that the above constitutes legal advice. When confronted with a legal issue, the service of an attorney should be sought and obtained.

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Answered on 8/20/01, 4:32 pm
Thomas McCarthy, Sr. Thomas McCarthy, Sr., Esq., P.C.

Re: how to stop ex from ''stealing'' the kids by using the system

You can bet there is money at the bottom of it.

The best form of defense is attack.

Think about a suit for defamation and

intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Pop his telephones records if he is harrassing you by phone.

Use the suit to depose him, send his interrogatories and requests for production of documents.

File a pre-trial lien on his property.

When he comes up for air, he will be a lot poorer than he is now.

He will then find someone else to harrass.

Good luck.

Tom in Md.

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Answered on 8/21/01, 12:14 am

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