How can I finish my California child custody case? 3 Answers as of May 25, 2011

I currently opened a case upon my son’s father. He is an illegal immigrant and currently homeless or in Mexico for all I know and I haven't heard from him in 2 years. I received full physical and legal custody and he didn't show up to court so I have a true default and have to finish it off. I am looking out for the safety or my son and I don't care at all about child support . I just want it so later down the road when he chooses to come and make excesses such as why he didn't show up to court he can't and I don't want him in the life of my son because I feel that my son will succeed in life without a so called missing father to drag him down.

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Just because the father didn't show up at your last custody hearing doesn't meanthat he is in "default". You haven't provided enough detail for me to do an in-depth analysis, but I surmise that you have filed a Paternity (Uniform Parentage Act) case, that you had the father served, and that you filed and served an Order to Show Cause for temporary custody pending trial, and received a temporary Child Custody Order after the father failed to show up at the hearing (and likely failed to file a Responsive Declaration to your OSC). If that is the case, your next step would depend upon whether the father filed and served a FL-220 Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. If he did, you need to file and serve by mail on his last known address whatever request to set for trial that your county requires (in Los Angeles County, that form is a FAM 014 form, REQUEST FOR TRIAL SETTING FAMILY LAW). If the father didn't file aFL-220 Response,you should file and serve by mail on his last known address a FL-165 REQUEST TO ENTER DEFAULT, along with a photocopy of it and a self-addressed stamped envelope for the clerk to use to return a conformed copy of the document when the Court enters his default. Once you have received the Request to Enter Default back from the Court, reflecting that the father's Default was entered, you should file a REQUEST FOR DEFAULT SETTING, or whatever similar document that your county requires (in Los Angeles County, that form is a FAM 031 form, REQUEST FOR DEFAULT SETTING), along with a photocopy of it and a self-addressed stamped envelope for the clerk to use to return a conformed copy of that document, advising you of the date, time and place of the default hearing. Show up at the default hearing prepared to present and argue your case to the judicial officer. Note that you cannot serve documents yourself, so anything that you need to be served should be served by somebody else over the age of 18, who should sign the appropriate Proof of Service, to be attached to the respective document that you file with the Court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/25/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
You already have orders regarding custody. If you believe that the father will not be in the child's life, and it has already been two years, you might consider moving to terminate his parental rights by filing to do so on the basis of abandonment. See your local Clerk's Office for forms. You might be able to get a consultation there with a Family Law Facilitator.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/25/2011
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Did you open a paternity case with your local county court? If not, and assuming the father is not your husband, then you need to file a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship and related papers, and ultimately get a parentage judgment. If you are married to the Father, you need to file for divorce, and then ask the court to adopt the current custody orders as part of the final divorce judgment. From the sound of your question, I get the feeling that the father was never your husband. Thus, in that case, you need to file a paternity action as said above. It's not practical to explain the entire parentage process with the court in a few short sentences or paragraphs. I'd strongly suggest that you call a local family law lawyer to help you with the process. Or, you can go to your local courthouse and see if they have a free self-help center. If you are in Sonoma or Marin County, feel free to contact my office for assistance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
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