Custody

Kirstan - posted on 06/17/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My daughter is two years old and her father has never cared about her before and now he wants joint custody and idk what to do , I'm trying to seek legal advice and find a free or probono lawyer to help me with my case .. He's never paid me in childsupport , never done anything for our child and I'm sick of paying for everything am I'm scared if hell try and the last time his mother took her anywhere my daughter wasn't brought back on time and he didn't seemed concerned at all or worried ..

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Michelle - posted on 06/17/2014

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Get the court involved like the previous person said, he can't just jump in as he pleases..

Guest - posted on 06/17/2014

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Document, document, document.
If he has not held up his side of the original court order established whenever you two split up, he will have a very difficult time getting custody. That said, if you cannot prove he has not followed the original order, he can probably get whatever he asks for within reason.
Every single time he misses a payment or doesn't pick up/bring back the child at the court appointed time, you need to be filing contempt charges against him.

Go to your Family Court offices or to Social Services (DHS) to be appointed an attorney who will accept your case pro bono. The way that works is that lawyers are required to work a set amount of hours each year pro bono. DHS and Family Court usually have lists of the lawyers and how many hours they have available. This creates two dilemmas:
First, once the lawyer meets his/her requirements, they can drop your case, and most will do so. This means that you will either have to pay the difference to keep the same lawyer, or go back on the list to receive a new lawyer mid case. That can weaken your case, and make things more difficult as you try to keep your new lawyers up to speed on the past proceedings.
Second, in a lot of places with high populations of families living in poverty, lawyers meet their requirements very quickly and pro bono availability is in very short supply, so you may have to wait a long time to get a lawyer. It isn't like criminal court where the state is required to appoint a lawyer to you.
Lastly, some states will require you to meet certain financial requirements to qualify for pro bono services in family court. You have to prove you cannot pay, which can postpone your court dates quite a bit. If you can afford it, you are really best off paying for your lawyer. This is your child after all, you want someone who will really fight for you, and I can assure you, if the lawyer is taking your case for free, you are not going to get the best fight unless their is a major publicity gain for the law firm.

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