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Old 05-16-2015, 05:58 PM   #1
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Child custody/separation/legalities?

No not for me. I need the information for the daughter of a friend of mine.

Short background story the mama is/was a sahm of 2 small children. Recently, she found out her live in fiance was running around on her. She moved back to her parents home.

Now he is telling her because she doesn't have a job and lives with mom and dad he is going to get custody of the babies(less than 1 yr and almost 3yrs). Because she didn't work outside the home I understand the money was always considered his so she now has no job, no money, and lives with her parents. To keep him happy she is jumping through hoops for him. He wants to see the kids after work at 11:30pm? She hauls the kids out to his place promptly and other things like that. She is scared he is going to follow through on his threat to take the kids if she doesn't do as he wants. So despite the kids having an 8pm bedtime she does this.

Any way I am wondering what legal rights she has. Can she file for primary custody of the children? Without money how would she go about doing so? How does she arrange for court ordered child support? Any other information that might be helpful for her?

Thank you in advance for any help you guys can give me for her.

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Old 05-16-2015, 11:04 PM   #2
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

First, until there's a court order, she can do whatever she wants. Once she files for custody each parent can discuss what they want. Everything written needs to solely be about what's best for the children. Then the judge decides if the parents can't agree. Some states make you attend mediation first. Child support is filed in the same manner and can be added to the custody case too. The judge will decide the amount unless the parents agree to a different amount. Her not having a job shouldn't be a factor, but I know some judges either make you look for work or agree to having a minimum wage job calculated to adjust child support. If she has no income they have forms to fill out to have them waived or to see if the judge will allow payments. Right now, as long as the kids are in her custody, she should have all the say until a judge orders otherwise. This is just from my experience; I am not a lawyer..and things may be different in other states
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:06 PM   #3
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

A judge is not likely at all to order visits at 11:30pm when the children sleep at 8pm...that's not likely to be seen as the best interest for the children.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:07 PM   #4
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

Oh and court houses usually have a family law facilitator or program to help fill out the court documents for free if its needed.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:17 PM   #5
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TikiLuCherry View Post
First, until there's a court order, she can do whatever she wants. Once she files for custody each parent can discuss what they want. Everything written needs to solely be about what's best for the children. Then the judge decides if the parents can't agree. Some states make you attend mediation first. Child support is filed in the same manner and can be added to the custody case too. The judge will decide the amount unless the parents agree to a different amount. Her not having a job shouldn't be a factor, but I know some judges either make you look for work or agree to having a minimum wage job calculated to adjust child support. If she has no income they have forms to fill out to have them waived or to see if the judge will allow payments. Right now, as long as the kids are in her custody, she should have all the say until a judge orders otherwise. This is just from my experience; I am not a lawyer..and things may be different in other states
I will let her know this. I have already suggested she just go into the court house and ask for directions. Knowing a bit before going in may help with the jitters.

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A judge is not likely at all to order visits at 11:30pm when the children sleep at 8pm...that's not likely to be seen as the best interest for the children.
Yeah, told grandma this but mama is scared of losing her kids. She is a young mama. Not sure she is even 20 yet.

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Originally Posted by TikiLuCherry View Post
Oh and court houses usually have a family law facilitator or program to help fill out the court documents for free if its needed.
This is a huge help to know this. The family has no clue how to go about doing this.

Morning they were planning a wedding, evening she finds out he is seeing other women and has a separate apartment. Next morning he is sorry and wants her back. Claims he left his girlfriend and canceled his lease on his just barely acquired apartment. Now he says he is dating other women. Poor mama has been on a rollercoaster ride.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:13 AM   #6
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

My SIL is going through a divorce right now. I don't know all the details of it but I can share some of the things that have helped her.

If at all possible - get a lawyer. He/she will give the best advice for the situation and area. There is a good possibility that he'll be made to pay lawyer fees in the end (but not a guarantee). SIL's lawyer required a small fee upfront but the rest she's waiting for things to finish in the courts to find out who is paying her fees.

Write everything down. Save texts, emails, etc. Write down when he calls and what he demands. Especially if there is another girlfriend on the side. (SIL's husband tried to tell courts that he wasn't cheating on her and she left for no reason - she had all the texts to prove otherwise)

She doesn't have to give into unreasonable requests (like 11:30pm visitation) when she can prove she's making the kids accessible to him at reasonable times. Again, this goes back to keeping record of all communications - if she can prove she's not keeping the kids from him the judge is going to look more favorably on her.

There isn't a divorce going on here so that changes things I know. I know for SIL it worked out best for her to be the first to file in the courts. That gave her a huge advantage (according to her lawyer). So it might be wise for her to get to the courts first and file whatever needs to be filed for her to get primary custody.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:17 AM   #7
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I don't have too much to add. I know here it can be a factor if one parent can't provide the kids their own room. So if the kids have their own room at her parents house and it shouldn't be an issue but if she sharing a room with her kids than it could be an issue
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:22 PM   #8
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

She can certainly expect to be doing 50/50 time with the kids and here anyway, he would have to pay her spousal support, in addition to child support, because she was a SAHM before. The expectation would be that she would find work eventually but he would also be on the hook for half of daycare so some divorced families decide it's still better for him to support her at home than pay for daycare.

If I were a judge I would be more likely to question her parenting abilities for taking the kids anywhere at 11:30 than I would for her telling him the kids are asleep and he's welcome to see them at 8am.

She needs a lawyer.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

I would suggest seeing a few divorce attorneys the initial consult should be free. They can give the low down on which way your state handles these cases.

My divorce took place in Florida and joint custody is so strongly preferred that even when it is a clear and cut case that one parent is unfit there are a bunch of legal hurdles to jump through. Despite my ex not fighting me and the fact that he was clearly unfit to take custody, I still had to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt to a judge I was the best placement for sole custody. I had to hire an attorney to draw up a 4 page document justifying the reasons I needed sole custody. Sole custody is hard to win even in clear cut cases because judges prefer both parents participate when possible.
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:41 PM   #10
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Re: Child custody/separation/legalities?

Thank you for all the information. I will relay it to them. I did strongly suggest the mama go and file first thing Monday morning for custody. Hopefully she does so. I also suggested saving any and all communications. I will also strongly recommend a lawyer for her. Not sure of her work plans for the future.
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