I am friend and landlord to Shannon. For the past 3 years she has worked very hard towards getting her life on track, recovering from a very bad marriage, and providing a home for her 3 young children. She needs our help to accomplish the final goal of being reunited with her children. Right now; she is not being permitted to visit or even speak to them by the person with the temporary guardianship. While the court did order visitation; her lawyer failed to follow through.
We are trying to help her raise money to hire a proper lawyer who will champion her rights and restore her children to her. The $9000 is a ballpark guess at that cost.
The question you'll naturally want to ask is, "Why are her children not with her? Were they removed?" The answer to the second question is an emphatic "No". No case exists against Shannon. The temporary guardianship was at her request because her situation had declined after her ex husband was incarcerated. She reached out to family for help, not knowing that she would have to fight them in the end to get her children back. Some of the details of this story follow.
Shannon has steady, full time employment and is very well respected at her place of employment. She has had a very suitable home for her children for the past 18 months and is working for their return.
The party with the children chose to oppose the motion to terminate the temporary guardianship and due to their financial abilities (money for a talented lawyer) and a lack of quality legal representation for Shannon; Shannon's motion was denied. Grave errors were committed by her counsel that I'm not going to get into here because they are part of an official complaint to the West Virginia bar.
The legal standard to terminate a temporary guardianship assumes that children belong with their natural parents. The only grounds for denial is that the natural parent be shown to be unfit through a preponderance of evidence. That has not been met. At no time has evidence been produced that shows Shannon to have any negative fitness qualities. She has demonstrated that she is sober, that her employment is adequate and reliable, her home is suitable, and that she is emotional fit.
Shannon has met all requirements for reintegration save visitation, which is being refused by the opposing party. She has not, and cannot be shown to be unfit but due to mistakes made by her initial counsel; she will need competent counsel to move forward and compel the court and opposing party to reintegrate her 3 children with her. Quality representation is not inexpensive and Shannon has exhausted her initial funds with a law firm that failed to provide quality representation.
Shannon is fully prepared to assume all parental responsibilities, has no negative factors and should not be barred from resuming full guardianship of her children. The children have also expressed a great desire to return to their mother. Childhood is fleeting; children should not be kept from their parents without good cause.
As in all child custody issues; privacy must be maintained and emotions can be expected to be high. I will remove any negative comments about any involved parties.
When sufficient donations have been collected to retain counsel this page will be updated with a record of disbursements. These records will only record the name of the firm and the amount due to privacy issues.
Any monies remaining in the fund when the case is complete will be donated to the Shenandoah Women's Center.
As the holidays approach; let us join together and reunite this family!
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