Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Any advice on how to go about court and custody?

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:46 AM
  • 19 Replies

I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice about getting a low-income attorney? I've been giving my son's father a lot of slack and things are getting a bit more dramatic and I want to put an end to it. My son is 9 months old and for the first 8 months I was letting him get away with a lot because I was going back and forth about whether I should move back in with him and try and make things work. That's something that he wants, but I don't. Our relationship is completely baseless and all we do is fight. I don't think that's healthy for my son so I have opted out of moving back in with him. I do take my son to see him on his days off but I have never let him come and get his son on his own because I don't feel that he would take good care of him, and just as well, he has two filthy, horrible dogs that he refuses to give up and his house is never clean enough for our son to crawl around on the floor (or, to get more detailed, his floor is saturated in piss because one of his dogs thinks it's neccesarry to pee whenever he gets pissed off and the douche won't get a carpet cleaner). Not to mention he has absolutely NO baby things at his house. No crib. No pack-and-play. Nothing. So I have been adamant about not letting him have his son alone on his days off. I'm just not comfortable with it. 

Anyway, so 9 months after my son is born he is JUST NOW making a stink about how I supposedly never take our son to see him (although I sacrifice 3-4 days out of the week to take him up there to see him... I hate doing it). About a month ago after a huge blowout he agreed to give me $125 a paycheck in child support. Hmmm... $500 a month for childcare costs so I can go to work... Probably another $100 between diapers, wipes, food and other misc. things that come up (diaper geanie refills, etc.. ) Not to mention I'm going to have to go on a massive clothes shopping spree for him in a few months because he doesn't have much for 12+ months for clothes (But it's okay. Because he can buy a new giant picture or throw rug, PS3, games for his PS3 and any other unneccesary luxury you can think of, every pay cycle). Anyway, so it's time I put my foot down about court ordered child support (my state's website has indicated he should be giving me about $430-450 a month). Not just because of my son's expenses, but because I also need to move out of my current residence. I am very lucky for where I live but I won't be able to stay there forever.

Anyway, once I take that step, he is going to want to have an all-out war over child custody. Because he's just now making a stink about it. Apparently it wasn't important before. 

So I'm just curious if anyone has any resources or advice on how to find a cheap attorney?  I don't assume that I HAVE to have one but I know nothing about going to court for anything. Not to mention I would rather make the first move.. because I think that would look better on my part... I don't know. Any advice or resources would be much appreciated.

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
ms.sophsmom
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:53 AM
You might call your local court and see wt they know... I think my mom told me abt the one I went to bt the fucking woman was sooo rude so I went at it alone.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
heidimoose134
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM

 How did you manage on your own? What steps did you take to get the motions going?

LancesMom
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Oh there is a service that does this and I cannot think of it off hand. Bumping maybe someone knows.

Its something like legal aide services but I think theres a name for it!

sid1083
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Depending on where you're at, there are usually law schools who can provide low-cost to free services in helping you to get your papers filled out and turned in. Many low-income clinics will also walk you through the necessary steps to filing (and which papers get turned in at what time). Another good resource could be your state bar association. Many lawyers who do pro-bono work will have their names on there. It really isn't hard to do on your own though, just time consuming (and I would suggest also looking up your state statutes regarding custody issues so you have that for reference). There is also a possibility too, depending on your income, to get the filing/service fees waived as well - just ask a court clerk.

PS: Usually it makes no difference to the court who files first. If you end up being served before you can file & serve him first, just make sure you respond. Courts like people who are interested in their kids.

Good luck!

krisnkids
by Gold Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Check out the site http://forum.freeadvice.com

Great resource, brutally honest, but great resource.

heidimoose134
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 4:13 PM

 Thank you. I will see what I can find out in my area. I was probably going to drop by the DHS office sometime or call them to see what advice they can give me.

Also, for anyone who knows, can I take care of custody and child support in one full sweep, or do I have to file for each seperately? I would like to kill two birds with one stone if at all possible.

 

Quoting sid1083:

Depending on where you're at, there are usually law schools who can provide low-cost to free services in helping you to get your papers filled out and turned in. Many low-income clinics will also walk you through the necessary steps to filing (and which papers get turned in at what time). Another good resource could be your state bar association. Many lawyers who do pro-bono work will have their names on there. It really isn't hard to do on your own though, just time consuming (and I would suggest also looking up your state statutes regarding custody issues so you have that for reference). There is also a possibility too, depending on your income, to get the filing/service fees waived as well - just ask a court clerk.

PS: Usually it makes no difference to the court who files first. If you end up being served before you can file & serve him first, just make sure you respond. Courts like people who are interested in their kids.

Good luck!

 

heidimoose134
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 4:15 PM

 Also, I know it can vary but for those who have already gone through the process, how long did it take for everything to get settled?

strongerwtime
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

I do not think you will need one....you two are  not married right?...

If I were you, when I file fore child support..I would go ahead and file full custody in one jump...beat him to the punch....but more so a wise decision to finally make this official...because it is clear that without it, you are being dragged unecessarily along with no kind of assurance or plan or order of some kind of structure for you son.  3 and 4 times a week for you is alot..

Child suppot and custody will be handled separately, thats actually a good thing....

Unless he is seriously unfit, he will likely get some kind of visitation but this can be mediated by a mediator of the courts  but only if dad is open to it.  ANd you can talk mention to the courts that dad needs to clean his place up, retain the dogs, before you would allow your son to go over there...thats not a good look on his part...he;s got some work to do.

 

strongerwtime
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 4:53 PM

I filed both in one full sweep :) ...there are usually two dates, one for custody/visitation, and then another for child support.... For me, my dates for first appearance stretched out 2-3 months from the time I filed...the actual FINALE..well, it may vary.  But the child supprt part will likely happen quickly!...I am certain there will be an order put in place at the initial hearing, granted he shows up.

You may expect there to be a continuance on the custody/visitation if dad shows up and clearly wants something totally different than you...that is likely always the case (eye roll) but its normal for courts to continue the case...this may stretch out another few months, could be less depending on the docket load of the judge......in the interim, a judge may put in a temporary custody/visitaion order- and honestly in your situation and with a child as young as yours- you may actually be granted full physical custody to start....and he may get some visitation.  Just be sure you mention that though you are supportive of visitation, you are concerned about dad's well.....home upkeep, and that it isnt exaclty baby freindly...etc. Not to make him look bad but this honestly is a SAFETY thing...if the baby cant crawl safely and there is nothing there for the baby then....dad just has to step his game up!...no more excuses for him.

Quoting heidimoose134:

 Also, I know it can vary but for those who have already gone through the process, how long did it take for everything to get settled?


heidimoose134
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 5:14 PM

 Thank you so much!

I don't want to make him look bad and I'm totally fine with unsuprvised visitation.. I'm somewhat open to the idea of joint custody but I doubt that would happen as we live 30 minutes away from each other and that will get messy later down the road. But I absolutely am going to address about his dogs and the upkeep of his house and lack of baby things.. it's a legit concern that needs to be resolved.

I want my son to have a relationship with his father and I feel strongly about that. Sometimes I wish he wasn't involved but I am lucky to have a guy who decided he wants to be a parent to his child.. many other women get screwed on that.

Also good to hear I should *hopefully* get child support in a timely manner. I know that once I file for it he will become petty about it and stop giving me what he is right now. He's very selfish.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)