November 22, 2009,
V.G. asks from Los Angeles, CA on November 14, 2009
How to File for Full Custody, Not Married to the Dad
I really need to get kick in the butt and try to file for full custody of my 2 young children. Their dad is a volatile , immature, irresponsible person who is in position to make any decision regarding the kids. They live with me and see him once a week or less. that is if he's not too angry with me, feels sick or has other issues. It has been a year now that we separated and it will not get better , it is getting worse. My fear is that at some point he will demand they come live with him , which i assume, he has a right to request ?
He is TOTALLY unable to care for these children 50 %. How can I make sure that never happens, How do I make all this legal? I am currently unemployed and cannot afford a lawyer . I need to know that I am the legal custodian of these children and he can have visitation, but only if I agree (which i do). I also need to establish child support since he DOES have a job. Thank you
3 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
So from all the responses I got the following, I think I will go to the Legal AId in my area, that will be safest since some people mentioned filing for custody in front of a judge while unemployed might not go so well. I have also starting to document his behavior as mentioned by many readers, his irresponsible behavior continues so that is easy !
Thanks you for every single response.
C.M. answers from Los Angeles on November 15, 2009
Filing for custody is the easy part. The courts have a self help section where attorneys who volunteer their timewill guide you and the court can waive the fees but you have to apply for that. The next problem is visitation. The court will not deny visitation to the father with out good reason. He has as much rights to the children as you do. I would have a visitation plan figured out and its usually everyother weekend and alternating holidays. With specific reasons you can ask for parenting classes on his part and monitored visitation. Monitored by the courts or grandparents etc. Be prepaired for a fight sepecially if he wants the children more. He has a job and can provide for them if they were with him. He even could hire a nanny. Child support is figured out bi the disomaster program. Pretty basic. Another thing -if he is angry with you, you just might concider a mutual drop off .Grandparents house is great and the grandparents can do the switch. Make the best of it to get along with him. This will be going on for the next 18 years. Good luck
1 mom found this helpful
J.C. answers from Los Angeles on November 15, 2009
Document everything in case you ever need to argue your case in court. Every canceled visit, irresponsible behavior when he has the kids, etc.
1 mom found this helpful
D.T. answers from San Diego on November 16, 2009
It's pretty simple actually, just go down to the local courthouse or child support center and file the paper work. You might have to pay court fee's, but since you're not currently employeed and can prove some kind of financial hardship it shouldn't be a problem. The guy sounds like a real winner, so I'm sure that the courts will side with you. Make sure that you document everything. Get the custody part in writing, you may have to see a mediator before you see the judge. When you go to court, whatever you do, stay calm. It's very important and it has to be ALL about the kids and what is best for them. I promise it does get easier with time. hang in there and be the stronger parent and mother that your kids need and will cherish years from now. I hope this helps.
1 mom found this helpful
V.G. answers from Los Angeles on November 16, 2009
Hello V., first of all i want to let you know that I know and understand the position in which you are in right now. First of all let me tell you that you are in every right to seek full custody of your children,especially if the father is immature and careless. You do not need a laywer, you can represent yourself, (of course depending on the state laws of the state in which YOU CURRENTLY reside). But in most cases, a person is able to represent themselves. I imagine that you don't have any history of violent behavior, don't use drugs, and don't have a drinking problem. That's always a plus for youe side, however, if the father has one or all of these problems, then that's a plus for you as well. =) First of all, you need to go to the court clerk's office and request to file for full custody, the fees vary from county to county, but since you said you are currently unemployed, you can request a fee waiver (again,depending on where you live). Fill the paperwork out, take it back to file, and you will get a court date. You can also look for help in the court's access center, or you can also ask the court clerk to give you a list of offices where they give free or very low cost legal help to help you fill out the forms and help you through this process. By the way, the father does get a chance to argue his side as well, if he shows up. Also, it is a very lengthy process, it can take from 1 to 2 years before anything is finalized!! Good luck!!
C.S. answers from Las Vegas on November 15, 2009
Hi V., it sounds like you just need to file with your district attorney. You may just have a small filing charge.
N.W. answers from Las Vegas on November 20, 2009
2 file for child support, go online, go to accessclarkcounty.com, go to departments and look for district attorney. If not, Im sure if you google child support, it will pop up, complete application and mail it in certified or hand carry it in and have them stamp a copy for you. As to visitation, family court has a self help center. You can print the forms online for free or you can go to their office and pay $3 for the packet and they will assist you in filling it out. These are your kids, move quickly.
E.S. answers from Las Vegas on November 16, 2009
Contact the Legal Aid Society in your area. They are the nation's oldest and largest provider of legal services to the less fortunate. The Legal Aid Society was founded in 1876. They provide free legal assistance to those, who cannot afford to hire an attorney.
Hope this helps and good luck.
K.K. answers from San Diego on November 16, 2009
Hello, First of all, I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. Parenthood is supposed to be the most happy time of your life.
Anyway, our 41 year old daughter has just gone through the same thing. She was never married to her baby's father. She did not hire a lawyer and was able to go through filing for custody and child support without one. My husband and I also did not hire an attorney when we filed for legal guardianship of our grandson several years ago. You really can do this without one. There is a lot of paperwork, but if you just get it from the court and take your time, you can fill it out by yourself. Do you know any paralegals? They can also help with the filing and paperwork. They are not allowed to give legal advice, but can be very helpful with the filing (as I said). Our daughter was successful in getting full custody with visitation. Our grandaughter has Down Syndrome and is facing heart surgery in a couple of days. This was a factor in wanting to have the baby's father supervised and she was successful in getting that as well. The father had lived in the same house with our daughter and grandaughter and for six months did not speak to either one of them. He then was asking for every other weekend unsupervised. He finally admitted that he didn't want it. His supervised visits are very testy at best. He is unresponsive to his daughter's needs In fact, he spends a great deal of the time trying to hide the fact that he is texting. My other daughter and I have to supervise him when the baby's mother is not available. I document everything.
He tried to get the child support lowered from what the court decided on due to the fact that he is not employed anymore. The judge quickly let him know that he was going to pay this money. They can usually see through these deadbeats.
You will go through mediation to work out the particulars. There are filing fees and fees for copies of paperwork. It is a lot less than lawyer fees, though.
Good luck with your precious little boys.
B.J. answers from Los Angeles on November 22, 2009
I went through an ugly divorce with similar situation. You should go to the court in your area and ask the info desk where you get a form to fill for child custody and another for child support. What will happen is that you will represent yourself and you need to fill in the papers and submit them and the courts will get back to you with a court date. When he does have the children does he take them to school? I got all school attendance records and the days when Dad had them he was usually late or didn't get them to school at all. I also got teachers to write letters stating that when dropped off by Dad they were unkempt and homework wasn't done. Getting teachers to do this is difficult. You can get friends to write letters and get them notorized and take them to court as well. My experience is the court sides with the Mother most of the time. Relax and breath.
I hope this helps
M.H. answers from Los Angeles on November 16, 2009
H there - like most responses...yes you can do it yourself and have the fees waived. Are you at least on some sort of county help? If so that will help you establish child support and have your fees waived in court for custody. Do document everything and although there is alot of paperwork, they have a clinic at the court that can help you. I was working full time and did everything without an attorney and only had to pay the filing fees. But i know if you do not have income, apply for help and give them his information so they can go after him for child support. It is very difficult for the mom to lose custody, unless he has things documented. You will meet with a mediator before the judge and the mediator will help establish the best custody for the kids. If he is only seeing them once a week then state that on the paperwork that you only want once a week visition. The mediator will meet with each of you alone and together...keep it cool and state your arrangements and justify your reasons for them!