How can I get child custody of my son from my ex girlfriend? 33 Answers as of August 05, 2011

My Ex has kept me from my son for years off and on now. I have him for the summer and its great. The other day my son asked if he can live with me because he hates it there where he lives he says he sleeps on the couch and has no bed not to mention the mom moved in with a boyfriend with a bad past after only being with him for 4 months. He moves out off and on and she sells his stuff when she needs money. I am heart broken because my son wants to stay with me. I pay her child support but there is no court order custody. Can I keep him with me with out going to jail or getting arrested for kid napping I just want whats best for my son and if I take him back who knows when I will ever see him again. Hes 10 now and time is getting short.

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You should commence a paternity action.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki
Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki | Aubrey Srednicki
It is important that you formally establish custody and parenting time through the Courts. I recommend that you speak with an attorney who can more fully evaluate all of the facts and circumstances in your case and advise your how to proceed.

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Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 8/2/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
I would file an application for custody while your son is in your household.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/26/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Apparently you have been living under an unmarried arrangement for nearly 10 years and have never done anything to have a court establish any legal obligations or responsibilities concerning your child. The price for that is that currently you have no legal rights at all just the right to go to court and have the judge decide what is in the best interests of the child. You need to step up and get a court to establish a suitable parenting plan after being able to evaluate all the facts and circumstances. Until you do, you are (legally) at the mercy of whatever the mother says and the law enforcement system will not be able to help you. What your son wants will not be the deciding factor, but will be taken into consideration.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/23/2011
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
If there has never been a LEGAL finding of paternity of the child, you need to get into court immediately, because LEGALLY you have no rights. Based on the facts you have declared, now is the perfect time to strike for physical custody to you. If you keep your son without a court Order, you do risk legal issues. Since he is 10 years old, we can help you make his desires known to the Judge, and bring you the gift of physical custody to give your son a chance at a better life.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/22/2011
    Colucci and Associates
    Colucci and Associates | Paul Colucci
    You can get custody of your son. It will involve going to court to get an order granting you specific rights. If your son is with you for the summer, it is very important that you act immediately so that some hearing can be had before he goes back to school. Your chances of success will be greatly improved.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You need to file a paternity action to establish your legal rights to the child. That way, she can't stop you from seeing the child and you'll have an established timesharing schedule. And, if you believe that it is in the child's best interest to reside predominately with you, then you can petition the court for that right (presuming she won't agree to it). You should retain an attorney to assist you in protecting both you and your child's rights and interests.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    My feeling is that to be really safe, you are going to have to go through the court system. Even then, there is no guarantee. Instead, the results are likely to depend on the details of your particular situation. If paternity has not already been established, you are going to need to establish that. Once paternity is establishing, you are going to have to petition to have the court enter a parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    If there is a court order that you pay child support, Oregon law provides that the mother has legal custody of the child. To modify that, you must file a custody petition in the state where the child has resided for at least the past six months. A child's preference as to where he would like to live is usually considered by the court but a child doesn't get to decide where to live until he's 18. You don't need to show a change in circumstance to modify custody in your case. Oregon law provides, in part: (1) In determining custody of a minor child, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child. In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors: (a) The emotional ties between the child and other family members; (b) The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child; ( c) The desirability of continuing an existing relationship; (d) The abuse of one parent by the other; (e) The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and (f) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. If a parent has committed abuse there is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests and welfare of the child to award sole or joint custody of the child to the parent who committed the abuse. In determining custody of a minor child, the court shall consider the conduct, marital status, income, social environment or life style of either party only if it is shown that any of these factors are causing or may cause emotional or physical damage to the child.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Gulstrom, Henson & Petrie, PC
    Gulstrom, Henson & Petrie, PC | Tami Monek
    You need to file a Petition requesting that the Court establish a set visitation schedule for your son. When making the determination of who should have primary custody and what the visitation schedule should be the Court may consider your son's wishes, but-as a general rule-he is still a little young for those wishes to be given great weight.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    If there is no parenting plan in place, and you are the father, her "rights" are no different than yours. However, you're asking for friction to just "keep" your child. Instead, fileto put a parenting plan in place. See my website for what the court will consider.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You need to petition the court for custody. Although there is no court order stating she has custody of him, the fact remains that she has had physical custody of him since he's been a baby is sounds like. You can try to tell her you are keeping him, but if she protests and threatens to get the police involved, they will more than likely tell you to return the child to the mother and file the proper paperwork with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In order for you to obtain any enforceable visitation rights, or obtain primary physical custody, you should file a "Legitimation" action in Superior Court as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We are divorce and child custody lawyers in Augusta and Martinez-Evans, Georgia. We recommend that you retain, as soon as possible, a family law attorney in your area concerning your rights and options in the context of a legitimation action.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You need to do it right, and get a Court to order that you can raise the boy. I can help you with this. And I will tell you up front what it will cost to do this for you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    you should bring a motion for custody and make all these claims.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    You need to go back to court and get a set placement/custody order. It would be very unusual to have a child support order without some kind of custody/placement language. If it says reasonable visitation with reasonable notice, you can't keep him without a court order.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You must petition the Child Support Court in the County in which you live for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A child may never decide where he or she will reside. To establish custody, you must file an action to determine custody and parenting time. Courts make such decisions based on what it believes are in the best interests of the child. A child's wishes are considered only if the court determined that the child is of suitable age and maturity, At 10 that is likely to have a minimal impact.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    File a Paternity case andan Order to Show Cause for Child Custody.That would be your wisest and safest move.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    I would need additional details in order to give more specific advice, but if you believe it is in his best interests to reside with you, you should file a paternity action with the court to request orders that he reside in your care. I recommend you speak with an attorney to discuss your options and determine your best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    You may not keep your son without having a court order. If you withhold the child from his mother, you could be charged with kidnapping. You should immediately file to change custody based on your son's statements to you. The court may choose to appoint an attorney for your son which would enable him to tell the truth about his living environment. You should immediately contact a family law attorney to assist you obtaining custody of your son.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, if you just kept your son with you and she filed an action with the court, the court would likely take a very dim view of your actions and potentially limit any future access to your son. You should file an action with the court for a parenting plan placing your son with you based on the negative environment in her home.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    You need to retain a family law lawyer and go to court and file for physical custody of your child. If your child is ten or older then in many cases the court will listen to what the child wants as to where he wants to live. You do not want to just take him and not tell the mother where you are as that is a crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    If there is no court addressing custody, then whoever has him, has him. If you refuse to return him, she'll need court action to get him back. BUT playing games with custody is a bad idea. If you want custody, get a lawyer and file a custody complaint. While the PA custody law now includes a list of factors for the court to consider, the main question is a determination of what is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You should consider a CPS report if your son does not have a proper living environment and if his mother sells his personal belongings. You should consider filing a motion in the family court requesting a change of custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Osterman Law LLC
    Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
    Parenting is not a Noun, it is a verba word of action. 1. You need to get to a lawyer very soon because you need to get custody as soon as you can. 2. If you cannot afford a lawyer, then go visit legal aid and ask them for help. 3. Start making a record of what you see and on what day. 4. Tell your son that mother loves him and she is doing her best. DO NOT tell him your plans. Custody is NONE of his business. If you think your 10 year old is smart enough to know who he can live with, then you are sadly mistaken and have no business with custody yourself. What goes on betweeen the paents is none of the kids business because there is a court out there looking at best interests and if the court thinks you aere putting notions or bribeing your kid, you might be lucky to get visits. Here are the factors the Court MUST apply: IC 31-17-2-8 Custody order Sec. 8. The court shall determine custody and enter a custody order in accordance with the best interests of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, there is no presumption favoring either parent. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following: (1) The age and sex of the child. (2) The wishes of the child's parent or parents. (3) The wishes of the child, with more consideration given to the child's wishes if the child is at least fourteen (14) years of age. (4) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with: (A) the child's parent or parents; (B) the child's sibling; and (C) any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests. (5) The child's adjustment to the child's: (A) home; (B) school; and (C) community. (6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved. (7) Evidence of a pattern of domestic or family violence by either parent. (8) Evidence that the child has been cared for by a de facto custodian, and if the evidence is sufficient, the court shall consider the factors described in section 8.5(b) of this chapter. So as you can seethe STABILITY of the home is important. Get a lawyer soon. Good luck
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Rosenberg & Press, LLC
    Rosenberg & Press, LLC | Christopher D. Hite
    You need to file an Application for Child Custody with the court to define parental rights and push for primary joint, it's a battle but you have a solid chance, will need an attorney to stand a decent chance.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You need to immediately see an attorney regarding filing a legitimation and custody action. If you we never married to the mother and you have not previously filed a legitimation action, you actually have no rights to the child. You cannot keep the child under your current circumstances. I understand your concern for your son; you should immediately hire an attorney to pursue custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Unless you have legitimated the child you have no legal right at all to see the child, and keeping him would be kidnapping or interference with custody and could land you in jail. If you want visitation, or custody, get a lawyer, legitimate the child, and then seek an appropriate order.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    There are too many unanswered questions - including jurisdiction (i.e., what State can make an order) and how you could have gone 10 years without a custodial order being in place. I suggest calling qualified counsel to verify what State you can proceed in, and then a full consultation with qualified counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/22/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    You need an attorney to file a motion to establish custody in court for you. You may not keep your son, and will be subject to the whim of the child's mother until you ask the court to give you some rights to the child. Please see a domestic relations attorney soon.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/22/2011
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