How can a mother get sole child custody? 18 Answers as of August 24, 2011

I want sole custody of my daughter but I dont know if I can financially afford an attorney. Her father and I fight and I just want it to be over with. I am scared if she's with him without me he will take her, and since custody is not set, I can't do anything about it.

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
The Court will establish a parenting plan in your child's best interests.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
You will have to proceed in court and obtain court orders; whether on your own or with counsel.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/17/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
Obtaining "sole custody" in Louisiana is fairly difficult if the father is not abusive, or does not have some severe problem that would make him unfit to be around the child unsupervised, such as a drug or alcohol problem. If you cannot afford an attorney you can inquire with the local bar association in your area, or with the local Legal Services Corporation grantee about getting free legal help.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/15/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
If you are married you need to begin a divorce case in which the court will be required to adopt a Parenting Plan based on the best interests of the child. Colorado doesn't use the term custody, so what you mean by "sole custody" and what may eventually be decided might not be the same thing. If you are not married, as a mother you already have sole custody unless and until there is a court order that rules that the "father" is legally the father AND, after deciding what is in the best interests of the child, gives him specific parental rights and responsibilities. So, if you are not married and there is no court order you don't need to do anything until the father files a court case seeking parental responsibilities.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/15/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
There is not much you can do without hiring a lawyer and getting custody papers.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/15/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    If you are not married, you already have sole legal custody. So you can set the guidelines when he sees her. He would have to file a paternity action to request further legal rights. At that time, you can argue for certain orders, but until then, you already have full authority.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    The only way you can get "sole parental responsibility" (Florida doesn't have "custody" anymore), is if he somehow poses a threat or danger to the child, such as if he is a drug addict, child molester, violent convicted felon, etc. His rights are equal to yours regarding being involved in the child's life and spending time with the child. In nearly all instances, it is in the child's best interest to spend good, quality time with BOTH parents. However, if he somehow poses a danger or threat to the child, then you would be able to limit his involvement and time with the child. If you are concerned that he might not return the child, then you should file a paternity action to establish how the time with the child should be shared. If he fails to comply and return the child when he is supposed to, then you would be able to involve the police and court system. If your existing or potential case is in or near the Central Florida area (Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, Marion, and nearby counties), I would be more than happy to speak with you. My office offers free initial telephone consultations, during which we can discuss your matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    You need to consult with an experienced family law firm who can help you. You need to go to court to establish what your custody rights will be to your child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    you need an attorney. There are legal aide groups that can help and many attorneys will work out a payment plan.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Are you married?? If so, you will have to petition in a divorce for sole custody of your daughter. If you are not married, then you will have to petition in Child Support Court for your daughter.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    It sounds as if you are not married. In Ohio, an unmarried mother is the sole residential parent and custodial parent unless and until the cort orders otherwise. Seeing a lawyer is like seeing a doctor, sometimes a few dollars spent can save you a few dollars later. See one soon.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/14/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    It is very difficult to get sole custody of your child. The courts favor a custody situation where both parties have frequent and continuing contact with the child. If the father has substance abuse problems or there are other risk factors you may present that to the court in a request for primary custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2011
    Edward Papa, Esq.
    Edward Papa, Esq. | Edward Papa
    If you have limited funds, you can search your local legal services clinic and they can assign an attorney for you. The court will waive court fees and your attorney will only get paid if there is a recovery from your spouse. The attorney will work pro bono (for free). If you are in the Hudson Valley, you can go to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (www.lshv.org) or Nassau-Suffolk law Services (www.nslawservices.org) on Long Island runs The Volunteer Lawyers Project (Nassau) and The Pro Bono Project (Suffolk). If you are somewhere else then call your local court or bar association and ask for a referral. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Sadly, in a case as complex case the one you are embarking upon, you need the services of a skilled family law practitioner who can assess your situation and assist in your and your daughter's legal rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/14/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you're not married and in Georgia and he has not legitimated the child, he has no rights to even see the child until and unless he files that legitimization. You already have sole custody in that situation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/14/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    Are you married? If not and you haven't been to court you have sole custody.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/14/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington, access to children is controlled by a parenting plan. To see how a court decides what is in a parenting plan see my website www.TheCollaborativeDivorce.com
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/13/2011
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