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I'm only 20 fighting a custody battle please help me! Self-representing no $$$ :(

Posted by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 2:41 AM
  • 16 Replies
Thanks for reading my post I really need your help!! I have been trying for a week to get a lawyer, but I just don't have the money for one. My son is five months old and living with me currently at my parents. I was in a two year relationship with a man much older then me, I was eighteen and he was 29. At first it was sweet, but he was abusive after the fourth month together but I stayed because I left family and my life to be with him. Two years of mental and physical abuse and several ER visits I became pregnant. The first time he hit me infront of our son I called the police, took my son, and left and haven't looked back. Well now he wants joint custody and I am representing myself in this hearing which is in a week. Some advice, anything please! I don't want my son in his hands. It's Illinois law so I am unfamiliar with it coming from Missouri. I just need any help you can give me please. I have been staying up endless nights now trying to study court law and proceedings and illinois custody laws, but I am afraid I stand no chance. I just want it to be me and my son. I can't let the father have him. He already promised to kill me if I left him so I obtained a protection order, but he also promised to make sure our son ends up hating me. This man is good at faking and lying, putting up fronts..I just can't have my son hurt in any way or tormented seeing his dad. I am on my knees with nothing else, but to reach out for someone to hear me please. Don't let him take my son. He just can't. In a week my son could be placed in his arms and he can't even speak yet if something were to happen. I need help.
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 2:41 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Missjones33
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:46 AM
1 mom liked this

Are there records of his arrest and a domestic violence charge against him when you called the police? When you filed the protection order did you include your son in it?

pedritosmama
by Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:18 PM

NUH-UH, GIRL!  DO NOT FIGHT THIS WITHOUT A LAWYER! 

Seriously, that is the best way to get taken advantage of.  I make $11,000 a year and I have paid my lawyer 15,500.  Do I have that money?  No freakin way.  It was all loans.  Go to a cash advance place or a bank.  Figure it out!  If you go to court without a lawyer, you are just asking to get taken advtantage of.

Oh, I will also add that, while you probably won't lose primary custody, he will probably get joint custody.  And you need to learn to be okay with that.  Even if he was abusive toward you, he probably still will.  Men who are abusive to women aren't always abusive to children.  Unless he hurts the child, he will be given at least joint legal custody and visitation.

LauraMH
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Honey, I am so sorry for what you are going through and can say I truly understand. I found out just yesterday that self representation is not always the best idea. I don't want that to discourage you but to prepare you. This is going to be the hardest fight of your life but it can be done.

First things first. Get in touch with your local DV shelter immediately and get whatever resources they have to offer. They most likely will have an advocate that can go to court with you as well as possibly helping with finding legal representation. Most states offer legal aid (income restricted) in family law as long as there was a history of DV. That's first.

Second, prepare any and all evidenvce that you have against him for DV. All police reports, photos, witness statements, taped threats, e-mails, text messages, whatever you have that shows he is violent and a threat.

Finally, prepare for the fact that courts think the father should be involved no matter what. You will most likely get a temporary schedule that has him involved. Hopefully it will be supervised only, but it may not be. Just remember that if you do get something like that IT IS NOT PERMANENT. He is going to have to prove himself to the courts, so don't worry to much. 

I think you stand a fighting change but make sure all the DV incidents are brought up to show how unstable he is and get an advocate to be there and guide you through this process. 

Please let us know how it goes and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. 

cupcake_mom
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:25 PM
You need to look into legal aid. You can call you local social service office and they can give you resources to help you.
DesertFlower197
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM


I think she said it best.

I have been in court many times, with, and without a lawyer.  I've gotten so good at it I can self represent. The documented abuse against you is all you need. File a responsive declaration (forms are often on the local court website) and list all proof of abuse, (police reports, ER visits, etc) as "Exhibit A, Exhibit B" ect.

He will likely have to have a supervisor monitor his visitation if you prove the abuse and it would likely be for a short duration, until he proves himself, like LauraMH said.

Quoting LauraMH:

Honey, I am so sorry for what you are going through and can say I truly understand. I found out just yesterday that self representation is not always the best idea. I don't want that to discourage you but to prepare you. This is going to be the hardest fight of your life but it can be done.

First things first. Get in touch with your local DV shelter immediately and get whatever resources they have to offer. They most likely will have an advocate that can go to court with you as well as possibly helping with finding legal representation. Most states offer legal aid (income restricted) in family law as long as there was a history of DV. That's first.

Second, prepare any and all evidenvce that you have against him for DV. All police reports, photos, witness statements, taped threats, e-mails, text messages, whatever you have that shows he is violent and a threat.

Finally, prepare for the fact that courts think the father should be involved no matter what. You will most likely get a temporary schedule that has him involved. Hopefully it will be supervised only, but it may not be. Just remember that if you do get something like that IT IS NOT PERMANENT. He is going to have to prove himself to the courts, so don't worry to much. 

I think you stand a fighting change but make sure all the DV incidents are brought up to show how unstable he is and get an advocate to be there and guide you through this process. 

Please let us know how it goes and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. 



LauraMH
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:36 PM

I agree that she needs a lawyer but I disagree about what you said about the abuse. Men who are abusive to women WILL be abusive to their children. It may not be in the same way but they will. It is a myth that abusive men are "good fathers".

This is one of the things that frustrates me to no end. Abusive men ARE ABUSIVE. They don't just change bc the woman is not there anymore, they redirect their abuse. Please don't think for one minute that they are. Abuse is bout power and control and they will stop at nothing to get it. 

Courts don't understand this but research proves it. One day I hope to be at the front lines when all this changes and the system learns to not only protect women but the children too. The system is so screwed right now I don't see it happening anytime soon, but I have faith that one day it will, 


Quoting pedritosmama:

NUH-UH, GIRL!  DO NOT FIGHT THIS WITHOUT A LAWYER! 

Seriously, that is the best way to get taken advantage of.  I make $11,000 a year and I have paid my lawyer 15,500.  Do I have that money?  No freakin way.  It was all loans.  Go to a cash advance place or a bank.  Figure it out!  If you go to court without a lawyer, you are just asking to get taken advtantage of.

Oh, I will also add that, while you probably won't lose primary custody, he will probably get joint custody.  And you need to learn to be okay with that.  Even if he was abusive toward you, he probably still will.  Men who are abusive to women aren't always abusive to children.  Unless he hurts the child, he will be given at least joint legal custody and visitation.



Missjones33
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Are there any women's DV shelters in your area? They offer advice and great resources for this type of stuff. Start contacting the women's domestic violence shelters, those places are run by women who have been in your shoes, they know what to do. I've been in a similar situation and I will always be grateful I made that call. They even came with me to court. You did the right thing leaving him and choosing to protect your family. Keep your head up girl.

pedritosmama
by Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:06 PM

I do not disagree with you.  I do not like it, but as you said yourself "Courts don't understand this."  It doesn't matter worth a dime what you or I believe.  It only matters what the courts believe, and they will probably still give him joint legal and visitation even if she proves he abused her. 


Quoting LauraMH:

I agree that she needs a lawyer but I disagree about what you said about the abuse. Men who are abusive to women WILL be abusive to their children. It may not be in the same way but they will. It is a myth that abusive men are "good fathers".

This is one of the things that frustrates me to no end. Abusive men ARE ABUSIVE. They don't just change bc the woman is not there anymore, they redirect their abuse. Please don't think for one minute that they are. Abuse is bout power and control and they will stop at nothing to get it. 

Courts don't understand this but research proves it. One day I hope to be at the front lines when all this changes and the system learns to not only protect women but the children too. The system is so screwed right now I don't see it happening anytime soon, but I have faith that one day it will, 

 

Quoting pedritosmama:

NUH-UH, GIRL!  DO NOT FIGHT THIS WITHOUT A LAWYER! 

Seriously, that is the best way to get taken advantage of.  I make $11,000 a year and I have paid my lawyer 15,500.  Do I have that money?  No freakin way.  It was all loans.  Go to a cash advance place or a bank.  Figure it out!  If you go to court without a lawyer, you are just asking to get taken advtantage of.

Oh, I will also add that, while you probably won't lose primary custody, he will probably get joint custody.  And you need to learn to be okay with that.  Even if he was abusive toward you, he probably still will.  Men who are abusive to women aren't always abusive to children.  Unless he hurts the child, he will be given at least joint legal custody and visitation.

 

 


 

LifeCafe42
by Nora on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM
Check with your local dv shelter they will have resources
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
LauraMH
by on Sep. 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

I need to get money to pay a lawyer for my case. Self representation did not go well. Do you mind if I ask how you got that much money through loans. It seems like no one is willing to loan me money and I have pretty good credit, own my own home, same job over 2 years. I just don't understand.


Quoting pedritosmama:

NUH-UH, GIRL!  DO NOT FIGHT THIS WITHOUT A LAWYER! 

Seriously, that is the best way to get taken advantage of.  I make $11,000 a year and I have paid my lawyer 15,500.  Do I have that money?  No freakin way.  It was all loans.  Go to a cash advance place or a bank.  Figure it out!  If you go to court without a lawyer, you are just asking to get taken advtantage of.

Oh, I will also add that, while you probably won't lose primary custody, he will probably get joint custody.  And you need to learn to be okay with that.  Even if he was abusive toward you, he probably still will.  Men who are abusive to women aren't always abusive to children.  Unless he hurts the child, he will be given at least joint legal custody and visitation.



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