How do I set up child visitation and custody? 21 Answers as of May 17, 2011

I am a 30 year old male who became a father 3 days ago. My ex-girlfriend lives 30 miles away from me. I would like to know how to set up child support and have visitation.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
This is the most simple of matters. File a Petition to Establish Paternity. Will she agree? Are you certain you are the father? I for one have no doubt my daughter is my child and would never question the fact. But if you are going to do this, you need to be sure. You are entitled to DNA testing if you want it, it is your option and the Court, Mom, etc. cannot deny that request. $350-450 for DNA is a lot cheaper than child support for 18 years. Okay, now that that is out of the way, the Petition itself is simple. If Mom agrees even better. I handle both agreed and non-agreed paternity actions. If this is agreed, she is not going to try to claim you are unfit to see her child, you agree to the child support amount (guideline is 20% of your take home pay - assuming single with 1 for tax purposes and deducting the cost of maintaining the child on your insurance) then you are golden. You can do it yourself - though I find most clients who are in agreement can hire one lawyer and get it done professionally for not much more than the cost of doing it yourself. For example, Court cost is about $300 for the filing fee - certified copies will cost you $5 plus $1/page in most counties (about $50) per copy. This means cost is about $400. You can buy the forms from one of the many on-line sellers of these forms (cost varies between $50-350) and all give you the same thing, a packet of blank forms. Accordingly, the cost can run between $400 and $750 and that is with you doing all the work. My firm handles agreed SAPCR/Paternity cases for $750 and that includes the court cost, certified copies, preparation of the Austin Form, setting up the child support account, and of course coordinating with the Court and professional preparation of Final Orders. Please let me know if there is something I or my firm can do to assist.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/17/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
First, you can negotiate with the mother both things, set them down in writing and ask a judge to "so Order" it. Or go to Family Court and submit a Petition for both. Good luck and congratulations.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/13/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
You need to file a petition for a visitation order. You also should start paying support, but pay with certified check or personal check to maintain a record of payment. When you petition for visitation, she will ask for support. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/12/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Congratulations. You would file for paternity/custody/visitation/support in your local courthouse and she would be served and have to come to where you are for the proceedings. If you wish further assistance please let us know.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/12/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
You must commence a paternity action if paternity has not been determined by signing a Recognition of Parentage or by a Court decree. If paternity has been established, you must commence a custody action by serving and filing a petition for custody. The parties may always mediate an agreement and have that agreement memorialized as a court order.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 5/12/2011
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC
    Lori C. Obenauf LLC | Lori C. Obenauf
    You need to legitimize the child, and as part of that action, have child support set by the court and establish custody and visitation. Seek the counsel of an experienced attorney that can help you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    In Washington, you would file a petition either to establish paternity or to establish a parenting plan (and child support).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    You can call the mother and ask to visit your baby. You can help by contributing to support your baby. You can try to get the mother to acknowledge that the baby is entitled to a father as well as a mother. If you aren't successful with those steps, you should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to file and prosecute a Paternity case on your behalf, to seek custody and visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    In Washington State, you should commence a paternity action.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Petition the court for a parentage action which sets up visitation and child support. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    To get things started, you will need to file an action (Complaint) for Custody in the Probate and Family Court. To "set up child support and have visitation" the two of you will have to come to an agreement on the visitation schedule (child support is based on state guidelines). If an agreement cannot be reached, then your case will go to a trial for a judge to decide. It would be best to speak to an attorney beforehand and to help you negotiate/draft an agreement ("parenting plan") or, in the worse case, represent you during the contesting proceeding. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You will want to work something out and put it in writing. I can help you with this. 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: 5/11/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If you aren't married, then the first step is to file a Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship, followed by a motion to establish custody and visitation (if she will not agree to an order). If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    You need to file a parentage petition and related papers to open a paternity case. You can then request custody, visitation, and support orders. Call a local family law lawyer for assistance. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You need to consult an attorney about starting a paternity case in which you can obtain a specific parenting plan, including appropriate child support, that will be binding and enforceable. Even if the mother is agreeable to something now, you can count on the fact that any informal understandings won't last the next 18 years. That is why it is best for everyone involved to get things decided legally in a court case now.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    MRM Law Offices
    MRM Law Offices | Matthew Miller
    Have you established paternity? This is a list of documents you will file: Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent Entry of Appearance, Waiver, Petition For Visitation Order For Visitation Certificate of Mailing of Order For Visitation Notice of Hearing Certificate of Mailing of Notice of Hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    This is more common than you might think. The court has a procedure for this type of situation and I have handled hundreds of cases like this in the past. Call my office to talk or to schedule a time to talk.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    File a paternity action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You need to file a Paternity action and an Order to Show Cause, if you have not done so already (it appears that you were never married to the child's mother).You will be able to obtain orders pertaining to visitation and custody. You and the child's mother will be sent to Mediation, where you can try to hammer out a visitation and holiday schedule. You should consult an experienced, local Family Law Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
    Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
    Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Paul M. Teinert
    You'll need to open a paternity case since the two of you were not married at the time the child was born. You'll will be able to establish a custody arrangement, visitation schedule and a support arrangement all within the paternity action. Due to the fact that paternity actions can become complicated I would advise you to contact a local family law attorney for assistance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
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