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North to Alaska

Have Justice Will Travel facilitates a long-distance visit.

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Diana” had divorced her husband, remarried, and moved to Alaska, where her new husband served in the military. Her son stayed behind in Vermont with her ex-husband, where Diana’s family also lived. But despite a contact order, Diana had not seen her son in a year. She had tried mediation, but that failed. She had also tried filing a court order on her own, but the court rejected it because of the mediation clause in her divorce order.

Slowly but steadily, Diana’s ex husband began to cut all contact with Diana and her Vermont family members.

In February, Diana’s mother decided to visit her daughter in Alaska, and bring Diana’s son along. The boy’s father agreed, since Diana’s mother agreed to accompany the child and pay for the plane tickets. But two weeks before the planned trip, the father changed his mind, said the son could not go, and announced that his phone needed repairs, so he could not respond to messages.

That’s when Diana contacted Have Justice Will Travel’s Legal Empowerment Assistance Program (LEAP). LEAP helped her file an emergency motion requesting the court to order her ex-husband to comply with the controlling order and to allow the child to go visit his mom as planned. LEAP next helped Diana file a motion to modify the contact order supported by an affidavit that focused on the “real, substantial, and unanticipated change in circumstances” resulting from the father’s comprehensive efforts to cut Diana out of the child’s life in direct violation of the final order.

LEAP also helped with a motion to enforce the current order so that when the child returned to Vermont he and his mother would not fall out of contact with each other while waiting for the motion to modify to make its way through the system.

The court quickly responded to Diana’s emergency motion, ordering that the child be picked up by his grandmother, transported to the airport, and delivered to his mother in Alaska as planned.  However, Diana’s ex-husband quickly retained an attorney who filed an emergency motion for a hearing on the matter, which was granted the next morning. At that point Wynona I. Ward, Esq. agreed to enter on the case on Diana’s behalf, as Diana was unable to attend in person.

The court issued an order that granted the child a six-week visit with his mom, and required the boy’s father to pay for and provide his mother with the return airline ticket. The child was extremely happy to reunite with his mom and thoroughly enjoyed meeting and playing with his little half-brother. LEAP continues to assist Diana with her modification and the court process.

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