Child Custody wihtout a lawyer, anyone have advice?

User - posted on 06/30/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Anyone going through Child Custody Right Now that can give me advice on what not to do and what to do? I have no lawyer, can't afford one and my daughter's father has one.

He plead guilty to a DV case on June 22nd and is upset with me for that and getting a significant amount of child support from him....so he's suing for custody of my daughter who lives with me FULL time and I nurse her too, she's 13 months old.

I was served a summons on Thursday and have no clue about filling out paperwork and if I'm supposed to attach paperwork to it that I want to show in court to the judge,etc....

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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Jessie - posted on 07/01/2009

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Patricia...I'm sorry the hear what you are going through. Just know that what your ex is doing with your son is going to very much be looked down on by a judge. Plus if he doesn't have sole custody right now why don't you get the police involved so you can see your son? If you don't know where he is file a report saying he kidnapped your son. Also it doesn't matter what he says. He can run his mouth all he wants...so many people try to do that in court. What they don't realize is that the judge doesn't want to hear anything unless you have proof. If he claims you use drugs then volunteer in court to take a urine/hair follicle test. And unless he has medical records of you proving you to be an "unfit" mother, the judge is going to throw that out too. Now if you have proof of his abusive past then of course that will hold up in court, especially if it was to either one of your children. Then even if the courts allow him visitation, try to get it supervised either by you or a court appointed official. The courts want both parents to be involved in the childrens lives regardless if the parents split up...so unless he has some hardcore evidence against you there is no way he is going to get sole full custody. Even if the parents hate each other, the judge will still pry award 50/50 custody...its all about the kids and regardless of some of the messed up situations out there, the court ultimately thinks it is necessary to try to keep both parents in the child's life. There are sex offenders, drug addicts, even parents in prison who are allowed visitation as long as it is supervised. So if you have two parents who just went through an awful break up...chances are 50/50 is going to be the ruling. But with your ex keeping your son from you, that is not ok...if it were me I would definitely get the police involved.

Jessie - posted on 06/30/2009

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No questions you NEED a lawyer. If you have to borrow money/take out a loan/sell material items...you will get wripped to shreds in court if you don't have a lawyer. It doesn't matter how prepared you are, what exhibits you have etc, there are so many clauses/terminologies/etc that if you don't have a lawyer...you won't even understand what is coming out of the other attorney's mouth. My fiance has been going through hell in court with the biolgocial drug addict/felon of a "mother" to his daughter who completely abandoned her child plus is now in prison and even with a lawyer he is still going through hell. The court systems are cruel/harsh/always give people second chances...yet supposedly look for the best interest of the child...in order to state your strongest case for the best interest of your daughter, a lawyer is completely necessary.

Annie - posted on 07/01/2009

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I believe you could get a court appointed attorney. Check with your church if you have one and see if there are any attorneys that attend. An attorney at our church give us free advice when we were going to court for custody of my kids. There's no way a judge will give him full custody while you're nursing, so keep that up thru the process. You should be looking for a job because without one, you might run into problems keeping full custody with no way to support the child but his $. Any job is better than no job when you're trying to keep custody. Also, not sure if you could do with less $ from him but he may be more willing to negotiate if you lower his child support payments. Also, make sure you're letting him see her on a regular basis if he wants to because if you are keeping her from him, it will look bad for you in court. Also, keep a journal of everything that's been going on. The more dates and specifics you have, the better and it is admissable in court. Not sure about what to file or ppwk but I would just call the court and ask the clerk.

Hope this helps!

Monda - posted on 07/11/2011

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Contact the courthouse, most counties will have some sort of legal aid that can at least instruct you on how to fill out paperwork and where to file things. If income is an issue you may qualify for legal assistance too. As for custody / document everything and try to prove that you provide financial, educational, physical, and religious security/training for your kiddo(s) those tend to be the areas the courts look at when deciding on custody issues.

Patricia - posted on 07/01/2009

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I am recently divorced and My ex served me with papers and wants sole custody of both of my boys and only one is his! He says that I am mentally unfit to be a mother and that the boys want to be with him. He is also saying that I am using drugs and that I dont care about my boys. I hold down 2 jobs and I supported him for many years while he had a girlfriend. I had to get a lawyer because he is very vendictive and minuplative, he was also very abusive in the marriage and has a back round of abuse and serving time. Please for your children get an attorney even if it has to be legal aide. I havent seen one of my sons in several months because my ex is afraid that I wont return him!!!!

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Melissa - posted on 07/02/2009

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you should get a lawyer because family law papers are too hard to fillout and its alot of work. try and see if you can get leglia aid. Without an agreement he could take your child and not return it. just remeber that you don't want to get nasty with the hole ordeal because it could come back and bit you.

Cynthia - posted on 07/02/2009

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Depending on where you are, you can apply for legal aid in your area. They will set you up with a layer. I had to do that when I was going for soul costody of my son. I hope everything goes well for you. Take care.

Amy - posted on 07/02/2009

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P.S. also remember that the attorney's secretary does most of the paperwork. So, show your appreciation and she will appreciate you and work harder for you. I know I work harder for the clients that simply thank me.

Amy - posted on 07/02/2009

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Get a lawyer! Your attorney can plead for the father to pay your attorney fees. I work for one that is very understanding in these situations and gives single moms a break until the child support comes in or the court order for him to pay the fees. They are out there. Find one in your area.

Louisa - posted on 07/02/2009

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I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record. Get Legal Aid!!! They use your income as a guideline of what to charge or even take your case for free. It is your best bet to have a lawyer. You can go to court and request more time to enable you time to get a lawyer. Just be honest and tell the judge you are in the process of retaining a lawyer, and need more time. May God be with you!

User - posted on 07/01/2009

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You need a lawyer. Go to Legal Aid, ask around. I am going through a divorce and neither of us has a lawyer so even though he now wants custody of one of our daughters, the judge isn't buying it. Also, my kids are 15 and 17 and very able to voice who they want. Thoughts and prayers with you...

User - posted on 07/01/2009

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You may also want to call local women's resources who may be able to tell you about lawyers who work pro bono in cases like this. I concur with the pp's, you really need legal counsel.

Connie - posted on 07/01/2009

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most placs have legal aide sometimes it means sanding in line first thing on a monday morning but it is worth it. call your local court house and ask. if you attend church you may ask the church too.

Marsha - posted on 06/30/2009

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You need a lawyer. Do your best to find one. Do you have the Legal Aide Society in your area. It might be worth a call to them. If that doesn't work contact your local United Way and see if there any other agencies or local attorneys that could help.

Good Luck.

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