What are my odds of being granted a 10 day straight period each month or granted custody of the child full time and her being every other weekend? 5 Answers as of January 09, 2013

Mother left with my daughter who was 10 months to AZ to visit family (visit was to be for a 2 week period), but 3 weeks ago said she would not be coming back to CA.

Main concern is I don't want to be the "weekend" dad, plus her being in AZ and me in CA this would be nearly impossible. Pro's for me: raised a daughter who is 9 now full time since she was 2.5, work full time, have 2 bedroom place, the child has a half sibling (my 9 year old), child born in Orange County, CA, all lived together from time of birth until mom left to "visit", and I can place the child in child care while at work. No con's for me (no criminal record, police reports, etc).

Mother con's: hasn't worked in 4 years, no money, has cut off all communication/not allowing to see my daughter for almost 4 weeks now (not including the 2 weeks she was there to "visit"), lives with parents in a 3 bedroom place with a total of 8 persons living there include my child and mother. Pro's for mom: she is the mom, courts tend to favor especially when child is young!

I know what I need to do, file petition for paternity, this will be done in CA from federal child uniform custody act, etc. I just want to know how likely or unlikely I would be granted a 10 day straight period or a full time custody with mother having visitation rights??

Also, would you say it's necessary to pay 3-5K for a lawyer to basically go to court and state what I would already write in a declaration to the courts? The case would be heard in Orange County CA.
Thank you for your help!

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The Legal Center | Richard Manwaring
Speak to an attorney right away, you may be able to get an order to return the child to California. You need to act quickly because if she is in AZ for more that six month, AZ will become the state to determine custody, not California. Given the age of the child, you may get an order that mother may not move because of the need for frequent and continuing contact with you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2013
The Law Office of Erin Farley
The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
1. Are you okay with the fact that mom moved your baby without your consent? If not, you need to act immediately by filing an ex parte order to have that child returned to California. Hire an attorney and get the request in asap - YES, it is worth the money. It is not okay for mom to just "decide" that your child will not be in the same state. As to your other custody concerns, if you stay in two states the court will have to pick a primary parent (with whom the child lives most of the time). A 10 month old will be seeing you for limited periods because she is too young to be away for very long. I think 10 days is way too long at this age, but it will be up to the judge to decide. As she gets older, you can have longer periods. Once school starts, assuming you have joint custody, you will have vacations and summers.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2013
The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
You should consult with a family law attorney immediately. There is no rule that says you must. There is also no rule that says you should have a doctor set a broken bone, cast, or stitch up a cut, but it is simply not a good idea to do these things yourself.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2013
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
I am not an odds maker. There will have to be a home where the child lives, and visitation to one parent. Unlikely to go back and forth, first it is expensive, one party will have to pay transportation back and the other forth. Something will have to be worked out. It may be monthly or some other plan, but 10 days every month sounds impractical.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2013
Law Offices of Julie A. Ringquist | Julie A. Ringquist
First, you need to file the Paternity action immediately, before she attains residency in Arizona, which would mean you would have to go there for all court hearings, rather than her having to come here. I don't know what the Arizona requirements are, but time is of the essence right now! Do you have proof of the day she left? Next, get her served with those papers and have her bound to this court's jurisdiction. As far as getting a 10 day visitation with a 1 year old baby...in my opinion is somewhat unlikely. You can certainly try, but the recommendations for a child that age are available on the Orange County Court website, and start off by determining whether the baby is primarily bonded to one parent over the other or both equally. I suspect you haven't had her the majority of the time because the mother didn't even allow you to see her for the two weeks prior to her departure. Even if she is bonded to both equally, for that young age, it is recommended that she go no longer than 2-3 days without seeing each parent. This is a very difficult situation, but you want to get as much visitation as possible, you also want to make sure that IF you don't get primary or 50% custody (due to the distance), that it is noted that increased timeshare is anticipated as the child gets older. There are many attorneys who may be able to help you with this situation and offer free consultations, myself included. How much you case may cost will depend on how much litigation is expected or if a settlement can be worked out. I wish you the best and hope that you get the help you need for your daughter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/9/2013
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