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3 Bumps

Question about establishing legal custody of the children

My SO and I are not married but have been together for nearly 10 years. I've been a SAHM since the oldest was born and have not had any criminal charges since a few years before then. I am on SSI though. SO is addicted to benzo's, is an alcoholic, is abusive and smokes a ton of marijuana. I want to leave him but first I want to establish legal custody. I was wondering how difficult of a process this is, how expensive it is, and if there is any way I can do it without a lawyer. I was thinking maybe Catholic Charities or the YWCA could help. Any advice would be great! Thanks

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 11:04 AM on Jun. 11, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (11)
  • County Probate could help with getting you some answers they cannot and willnot give any legal advice. Sounds like its a no brainer...but you can never be sure of how the courts decide on any given day.
    meooma

    Answer by meooma at 11:06 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • file for child support... it automatically establishes custody/payments and in most cases visitation through the courts and while you might not ever see any money you will retain custody and is free... contact your local attorney generals office and they can mail you an application or provide you with your states website to apply for services.. never being married paternity may have to be established if he is not on the birth certificate or the children dont carry his last name.. once you file though in most cases it automatically establishes the person filing as custodial parent..
    girlglow6

    Answer by girlglow6 at 11:15 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • In most states, since you aren't married, you already have legal custody and Dad will have to take you to court to establish himself as Dad...unless your state recognizes common law marriage and the two of you met the requirements before the kids were born.

    The local courthouse should have a legal clinic you can go to and ask questions. They can't give advice about your case, but they can help you figure out what forms you need to file and such.

    If ex isn't going to fight you, you can go to the courthouse and get a packet with the custody papers. Fill them out, get them notorized and file them yourselves. You may even be able to get the filing fees waived, depending on your income and state.

    desert_diva

    Answer by desert_diva at 11:23 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • actually you are wrong desert diva.. as i found out first hand after leaving my ex of 13 yrs. who i never married and has a criminal record a mile long... if he's on the birth certificate or the kids carry his last name then he has just as much legal right to the kids as she does.. as i found out first hand when i left my ex and he kidnapped my son when the police were called i was the one who was nearly arrested for trying to get my son.. it took me a year to get custody, had i filed for child support he wouldnt have been able to touch him.. NOT BEING MARRIED DOES NOT GIVE YOU LEGAL CUSTODY....
    girlglow6

    Answer by girlglow6 at 11:34 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • if I were to file for PA, since they work with CS recovery, would that be adequate?
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 11:40 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • as long as it's through the state attorney general yes..
    girlglow6

    Answer by girlglow6 at 11:42 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • If he signed the birth certificate or affidavit of parentage, look to see what it says. My LP and I just had our third baby on Sunday, and since we have never been married, in the state of Michigan, he has to sign an affidavit of parentage to go on the birth certificate. On ours, it shows that I have custody until he pursues it in court.
    Mom-2-3-Girlz

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 11:47 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • Child Support Helpline
    1-800-932-0211
    www.childsupport.state.pa.us
    girlglow6

    Answer by girlglow6 at 11:47 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • go to a shelter first and get out, establishig legal custody while you are still together will be beyond difficult (not so much in the courts, but in your home life). If he's abusive you can file for temp. legal custody first, then check out different places that can help you get out of that house. From there you'll need to file for full custody with the courts.
    The only way to go about this without involving the laywers or courts is for him to sign a notarized agreement of custody.
    xxhazeldovexx

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 11:58 AM on Jun. 11, 2011

  • he is on the birth certificate. i think ill call the state attorney general or the legal clinic and start there.
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 12:14 PM on Jun. 11, 2011

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