how do I establish custody and visitation without a lawyer?

Jessica - posted on 07/22/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I desperately need to establish paternity, custody, and visitation with my ex but can nit afford a lawyer. what other options are available? I have no idea where to start.

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Dove - posted on 07/22/2013

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Legal Aid might be able to help. Or call the courthouse. They will have the papers for you to fill out. If you and your ex have a working relationship you can do it yourselves and file.

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Dove - posted on 07/23/2013

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Honestly... unless he is abusive to your child, seriously on drugs, or extremely neglectful... he will almost certainly win joint custody even if you HAVE a lawyer. I agree with Shawnn about trying mediation (court can help you set it up). Hopefully the two of you can come to an agreement without a fight.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/23/2013

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Amy & Jodi are on top of it :)

You can try mediation, but you've not really given any real reason why he shouldn't have joint custody with you.

Amy - posted on 07/23/2013

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As Jodi stated nothing you've said is a reason why joint custody would be denied. My ex lost his job over a year ago, and lives between his parents and brother, we still have joint although primary residency is with me.

You can go to the court and the clerk will tell you what papers need to be filled out and filed. Usually they set up a couple of mediation sessions where you and your ex can try and come up with an agreement with visitation. My suggestion is to not get caught up on him not having a job or money to pay, he still has a right to see his child.

Jessica - posted on 07/23/2013

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I live in Indiana, I want sole custody because my ex can barely pay his rent or put food on the table for himself. I want he and my son to have visitation but I don't want my son to live with him. his dad Will want sole custody or joint custody. he and I do not work well together. he is still bitter about are breakup and I have moved on.

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If he is going to fight, you are going to need a lawyer. You can go to court without one, but you probably won't win. Call the Family Court Services. They will set you up with a pro bono lawyer.

Jodi - posted on 07/23/2013

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Do you know why he is fighting you? Is he denying paternity?

And where do you live? This would help.

Jessica - posted on 07/23/2013

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We definitely don't have a working relationship. he is going to fight me every step of the way.

Jodi - posted on 07/23/2013

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It depends where you live. In Australia, if both parties agree, you can organise a parenting agreement through a mediation centre. However, if the other party doesn't agree, you might need a lawyer.

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