Do I have a chance at custody if I go to court without a lawyer? 24 Answers as of September 02, 2011

My ex boyfriend has my almost three year old daughter and now wont let us as in my husband and i to see her. He filed for custody I dont have a lawyer do I have a chance to get custody of her?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
Custody is not dependent on whether you have a certain income or have an attorney with you. However, consultation with an attorney can usually help you to avoid making certain errors that might call your parenting skills in question and to rebut any accusations by the other parent. I would strongly suggest consulting with an attorney before you make the final decision.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/2/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
Very difficult to prevail without a lawyer with so much at stake. At minimum you should go into an experienced family law attorneys office to give you tips on how to proceed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Office of Daniel B. Rubanowitz, APC
Law Office of Daniel B. Rubanowitz, APC | Daniel B. Rubanowitz
Generally speaking, yes, of course you have a chance to gain custodial rights of your daughter even if you do not have an attorney in Court. There are exceptions such as issues related to domestic violence and inability to parent for various reasons which would impact the Court's ruling on custody. Custody and visitation rights are not something to take lightly. You should consult with a Family Law Attorney. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/21/2011
Theiler & Mourtos Attorneys at Law
Theiler & Mourtos Attorneys at Law | Devan J. Theiler, Esq.
Custody determinations are always based on the best interests of the children and factors set forth in the applicable statutes. While custody is complex and, therefore, you would likely be well served by a competent attorney who regularly practices in that area, it is not a requirement. You are always permitted to represent yourself (other than in unusual circumstances). Strictly theorhetically, your "chances" should be the same with or without an attorney. That being said, an attorney will know what the best information to present, and how to present it, is, so you would likely fare better with an attorney rather than without one. If you decide to pursue the matter on your own, do your best to point out to the Judge all of the reasons you can think of why you should be allowed either visits or primary custody.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/20/2011
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
You DO have custody of her right now. He has none until the court orders it. As far as your chances after the court is involved, that really depends on the facts of each of you as parents. However, custody is usually joint, it is the placement that parents argue about.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 8/20/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. A court makes custody determinations based on what it deems to be in the child's best interests. Best interests are determined by assessing evidence presented by the respective parents regarding their parenting skills and care.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    People without lawyers go to Court all of the time. Obviously, to have legal representation would likely be better.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If he has filed a petition in juvenile court you need to ask for an appointed attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If he has been the primary parent, it is likely that you will get visitation rights. If you have been the primary parent and he is just keeping you from her, then you should be able to get custody. The case will depend on what you have been doing and who has been the primary parent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You always have a chance, although it might not be a good chance if you do not know the laws and cases the courts look at to determine what is in the best interest of the child in determining custody.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    While yes, you have a chance to get custody without a lawyer, we would recommend that you talk with family and friends about help in hiring one. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    As a matter of law, a judge will make a custody decision based on the best interest of the child. That being said, these determinations are made within a relatively short period of time and how the facts and evidence are presented to the court can be crucial. Unrepresented litigants typically do a poor job presenting their case which creates a disadvantage. If you cannot afford an attorney and plan on representing yourself, preparation is crucial. Obviously you cannot turn yourself into an attorney, but you can educate yourself on the process as much as possible. To start, learn the right paperwork to file. Many courts have legal forms clinics and tips for Pro Se litigants on the court website. Read the family law rules and the rules of evidence. Subpoena witnesses as many documents are inadmissible. Finally, do everything you can to retain an attorney. I suggest you at least consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    You may be quite surprised at how affordable some attorneys may be.;)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    You have not provided sufficient information for me to guess at your chances. You need to convince the court is in in the child's best interest to live with you. If you can do that, you are in good shape. The first step is meeting with the family court services mediator. If that meeting goes well and you get a favorable report, than you are in a strong position. You should get an attorney if you can, but even if you can't you still always have a chance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    I have no idea. First, it is going to depend on your ability to read and understand several court rules and statues. Second, it is going to depend on your ability to draft all of the necessary pleadings. Third, it is going to depend on your ability to assemble the evidence and present it to the court. Finally, it is going to depend upon your ability to present your argument to the court. Without knowing all of these criteria, there is no way that I could make a prediction on whether you have a chance of getting custody.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    You certainly have a chance, but it would be improved by the assistance of a competent family law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    A great way to improve your odds is to get a lawyer. A great way to worsen your odds is to not have a lawyer. If your child is important. Get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You have a right to represent yourself in this complex family law matter but I urge you to seek the help of a qualified family law practitioner to review your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    As an unmarried mother you are presumed to have custody unless there was a previous court case where he was granted custody. If he was not given custody I would take her birth certificate and any other identifying documents such as her social security card to the police and ask them to escort you to go get her. Unless you and your husband have issues that he could use to say you are not suitable to have custody, he doesn't have a good chance of getting custody particularly with him taking the child and refusing to allow you to see her.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You have a chance - it will require a lot more information to know if that is a strong chance or a weak chance. If you and the father cannot work out an agreeable parenting plan that will involve both of you in parenting the child a judge will have to decide what is in the child's best interest. You clearly will be in a better position if you have a lawyer who can properly advise you and competently present your arguments.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    if you think you need legal representation then interview a few lawyers to see who you feel comfortable with.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Your chances of obtaining custody would certainly be better if you have a lawyer, but that's up to you and your ability to afford one. Many attorneys offer reduced-fee agreements which make it much easier to afford legal representation. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    You might but your chances are always better with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/2/2011
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