Saturday, August 30, 2014

Official Documentation

We got four important documents in the mail yesterday --

1. Petition for Step-Parent Adoption: This one just outlines all the facts in the case, and includes copies of everyone's consents.
2. Adoption Summary & Segregated Information Statement: This one is the information that will be separated for privacy issues.
(More on these two documents here, if you're interested in the legalities.)
3. A copy of the letter to the Office of Safety & Permanency for Children: The originals of 1 & 2, above, went to the court system, so this letter is a request (which was obviously fulfilled) for copies of those filings.
4. A copy of the letter to MG's mother. By Oregon law, the parents of the non-requesting party must be notified of the adoption proceedings. They cannot stop, halt, or otherwise have any say in them, but they must be notified. In this case, there is no biological (since we don't know who MG's bio dad is) nor legal (since Tim never adopted him) father, so we only have to notify his mother. It is my understanding, through my sources, that she is at the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, so I don't even know if she remembers she *has* another granddaughter, but that is not my problem.

The weirdest part of this paperwork is seeing Princess' new chosen name. She will be issued a new birth certificate when this is all over, but this is the first time I'd seen her new name in print. That will take a little getting used to, but we all REALLY like it, and think Princess made a great choice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

At Her Request...

So, I spoke to RP on Monday, and (after she gave me some more information on what her next steps are) she asked that I call C.S. to "temporarily halt" their contempt case against MG. I wasn't sure if they could do that, but called them anyway. The Contempt Case Representative called me back yesterday, & said that she'd check, but since they hadn't filed yet, they probably could. She also said that I can always call them back if he withdraws his consent, and they can just pick up where they left off (they were going to file their case by the end of this week). In the meantime, she also called MB & RP to verify what I told her about the pending adoption and reminded them both they'll need to send a copy of the signed judgments once they're done (the adoption order only stops future child support, so the Satisfaction order MB's drawn up will stop the arrears). The only bad news at the moment? We were apparently at a standstill all this time, waiting for MG's consent to come in. That means that we still need to send in Ace's background check, which can take 4 to 8 weeks, then we have to wait another month or so for a court date. Working in our favor, however, is the fact that Ace has lived in this county for almost 25 years, so his background check should be fairly straightforward, and I've waived my right to a home study as well as to an adoption ceremony, which means RP should be able to get the judge to sign the paperwork sooner.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interesting Developments...

Seems MB got another message from MG... Friday, August 16th (a full two weeks after the date we gave him -- in the last email message -- to get the signed consent to RP's office), just after midnight. In it, he stated, "I still have not heard anything back in regards to the adoption papers. Please advise as to where we stand. Thank you. This is my 3rd unanswered email." Just like MB, I was flabbergasted and extremely confused. At first, MB & I thought maybe this is just the latest in the long line of stall tactics. But, remember: I've already been in contact with an agency, and started the process for collections on the attorney fees judgments.

I got to thinking, though... What if whomever is sending MB's emails to MG (his assistant or one of the paralegals) still was using MG's old email address (the one he shared with Wildebeest; he changed emails about 3 or 4 months ago, right about when my attorney's boss moved their offices...). I hadn't been CC'd on some of the more recent correspondence, so I didn't know for sure, but asked MB to look into it.

In the meantime, that afternoon, I asked him to take the letter from the end of July with the Aug 1st "return date" on it, make sure the email address was correct, change a couple of minor things, and give him until THIS Friday. Later that same Friday, I got paperwork from DCS in the mail, asking for any information I had regarding all MG's names used, addresses, phone numbers, social security number, employment, spouse & children, military, property, etc. They are opening a contempt case against him because of the child support arrears. No idea if anything will come of it, but I filled it out and put it in Saturday's outgoing mail.

The revamped letter went out to MG on Tuesday (email & snail mail this time). Then, to everyone's surprise, JC (RP's paralegal) sent a message to MB & me yesterday afternoon that MG showed up at the office and had her notarize his signature on the consent. We are not done, yet, as he still has to wait (as do we) for the adoption to be finalized (hoping RP can push it forward quickly), but for now, I will be calling the collections agent tomorrow and asking them to temporarily halt proceedings (Child Support will continue their path until this is done; there is no "calling them off"). RP gets back from her travels Monday, so we'll proceed then.

Keep your fingers crossed, people (Ace, Princess, & I are crossing fingers but not holding our breath).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TIMBER.... & more.

Some life updates for you today --

1. We had nine trees removed yesterday, and one (the huge evergreen in the back) drastically cut back (de-limbed & thinned out). A local company, For The Love Of Trees, took care of this for us. The crew was professional and fast. They were at our house at 8am, and gone by 330p. All branches & debris were either run through the chipper or otherwise cleaned up & removed, and the trunks were cut into logs for firewood. We don't have a wood-burning fireplace, but we do have plans for a fire pit in the back yard. Not sure if it will be wood-burning or not, so for now, we will stack & keep the logs. They will return Friday to grind three of the trunks down.

2. We continued tweaking the plans on the computer program; filling in the back yard with some misc plants (in the proposed veggie garden, as well as around the organic pool), etc, to give us a better visual of the finished yard. These plans will continue to get tweaked as we move along in executing them (we also need to figure out plans for the front yard, but that will come later). Now debating adding a tree back into the back yard on the west side, but not as close to the fence as the previous trees were, to give us evening shade over the patio, but not to interfere with the pool.

3. Decided our next step (this weekend) is to go talk to Lowe's, since the shed company we're going to use is through them. We need to figure out how big our concrete slab needs to be, how far from the fence line, etc... Then, we need to order the shed and schedule install.

4. Elvis' training is going super-well. We are so impressed with him! He passed the first six-week course with flying colors, and we have three more left in the second round. His house-training is going well; we started him on a 4ft tether, and he has earned being on a 12ft tether as of last Monday. He has not peed in the house since tethering started, but we have yet to allow him to freely roam. His commands now include: sit, stay, down, off (different from down), wait (different from stay), release (a potty command), and come. He knows his humans and which toys are which; if we ask for a certain one, he will get it (bone, rope, Kong, football, etc) about 90% of the time. He is friendly to everyone and respects Izzy as his elder. He walks loose-leash about 90% of the time (only pulling when we get close to home from a walk or whenever he thinks he knows where we're going), as well.

5. My accident attorney is in settlement talks with the woman's insurance company. I need one more visit to my PCP, and possibly one more to my OT to get my current grip strength on record. We're estimating, after all is said & done, I will cash out at about 1/3 of what Ace got (which is fair). Not sure exactly what I'm doing with it yet, but I will probably give some to Ace to contribute to the yard upgrades, and save the rest for a new (to me) car in a year or so.

6. My family law attorney has the Satisfaction of Judgments ready to go (these release MG of all past, present, & future financial responsibility to Princess & to me), but after the last communication he had with MG, and MG's lack of response, I've decided to continue pursuing his financial obligations to me. As much as I want him to just sign the consent & allow the adoption to happen (which will cost him NOTHING, and be over in one to two months), I can't force him to do so. This "I'll sign it if..." crap has been going on for six months, and I honestly don't believe he'll actually sign it. Collections is a slow process, but it *has* been started.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Last Chance... Blown

A little over a week after I posted this blog post, I got a message from my family law attorney. MB sent me a copy of an email MG sent him (in which he claims to have spoken to his own attorney -- not sure I believe that -- and again stating his is willing to "finalize the paper signing" at MB's office, but wants the Satisfaction to be "backdated to include the amount the state of Oregon has withheld from my 2013 Tax return and immediately stop any pending action against my Oregon drivers license...", along with a quick note: "I am not sure what email & follow up he is talking about. But what he wants is the back child support satisfied as well as the Judgment as far as I can tell. Call me."

If you'll remember, we originally asked him in MARCH to sign the consent & allow the adoption to happen. Had he signed then, the adoption would have been finalized by the courts by the end of JUNE. Had he signed the consent when I asked, I would not have had a reason to ask C.S. to do anything and I would not have started collections on the attorney's fees judgments. I told him over & over that in return for his signature & follow through, I would release him of all monies (arrears, current, interest, and going forward from the date of the adoption) owed. At this point, I don't feel he has any negotiation power.

My conversation with him said as much. I also shared my extreme frustration about the whole situation, reminding him of every opportunity & warning we've given MG about my intent to start collections... and now, MONTHS later, he's still dangling the carrot; saying "I'll sign if..." So, I had MB send MG one last email regarding this matter. In it, we stated that if he does in fact sign (we actually gave MG a date of August 1st, last Friday, at 4pm to get the signed consent to RP's office) & allow the adoption, I will halt the collections on the attorney judgments. However, the actions of the child support division (garnishing tax refunds, suspending his license, etc) will not halt until they are given a court order (a copy of the signed Satisfaction Judgment, once it's been entered into court, after the adoption is final) to do so.

I did not receive a call, nor an email message, from RP (nor her paralegal, as RP is out of the office for a few weeks), so at 5p, an hour after the deadline, I called. There was no answer, so I left a voicemail for the paralegal to call me back Monday to let me know if it came in or not. I'm assuming not, but I won't know for sure until I hear from her.

So, an open letter to MG -- "I don't believe you have any intention of ever signing the consent form, nor do I believe you'll actually allow the adoption to happen. If you did, you'd have signed already. I have been more than fair in this matter and am done with your antics. You're doing nothing but delaying the inevitable, and pissing off Princess. I'm not stopping any collections. I'm not giving you the 2013 garnishment back. I'm not calling off the collections agent. If, and only if, the signed consent eventually gets to RP's office AND YOU FOLLOW THROUGH ON ALLOWING THE ADOPTION TO HAPPEN, will all collections proceedings stop and you'll get your license back. All money I collect between now & then is mine to keep."