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Author Topic: About to start the fight for Custody  (Read 5426 times)


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About to start the fight for Custody
« on: Nov 24, 2003, 06:37:48 AM »
Hello again, everyone.
   I'm at the point where I want to get this battle started. I've waited too long to see my son, and have not been able to.
   Here's a little bit of my story. I had a child with an ex girlfriend, she abandoned us for a guy she met online, came back after 4 months, and took my son. We were both still living in the same state, so she allowed me alternating weekends visitation. I got married some time after she came back to the state, and since then she has been fighting hard to not let me see him. Well, since I joined the military, I haven't seen him more than an hour in the past year, since she is unwilling to let me have any form of visitation.
   I am planning on defending myself Pro Se, so this is where I need help from the members of this forum. I have a few questions:
1) What kind of case am I filing? Is it a paternity suit? I need to know so that I can get the appropriate paperwork to fill out.
2) Where do I contact to get the paperwork? The county court office, or the county clerk?
3) When the initial hearing comes about, what does the judge want to hear? I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea what I should be focusing on. I don't want to go in there and seem like an idiot. What kind of things will the judge be expecting me to say?
4) What kind of things should I avoid saying?
5) What kind of proof/evidence/witness should I supply? Is it even necessary for the initial hearing?

I'm sure I'll come up with more questions soon, but for right now, I'd appreciate any insight that those of you who have gone through this type of thing might be able to provide. :)


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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #1 on: Nov 24, 2003, 07:54:01 AM »
I am doing and about ready to file mine pro-se.  I'd be willing to walk you through this, as far as what I know for my state.

Best advice is to learn you state statutes, codes, local and district court rules.  If paterninty hasn't been established, get it established.

Once its established, then you file for visitation.  I'll involve paying child support, but then it's all court ordered, then if she denies it, its contempt.

That's a basic start, but like I said I'll walk you through it if you need help.  Let me know


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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #2 on: Nov 24, 2003, 11:31:24 AM »
Hi Lissa, and thanks for your response.
When my baby was born, I signed the declaration of paternity at that time, and was put on the birth certificate. I also went to the Office of Recovery Services and had Child Support enacted so that I would be providing for him.

At this point, I just need to get the necessary paper work, and file.
I am pretty well versed on the statutes in Utah code regarding custody, though I'm hoping to get better than what the statute is offering.

I'm also wondering if it helps my case that my ex is unwilling to allow him to have visitation with me at all until he's 13, or that she is now avoiding my phone calls so as to not allow me to talk to him. I guess I'm just wondering what kind of things I should bring up in court, and what's relevant? Some people have told me not to make it a mudslinging competition, but at the same time I find some of the things I can substantiate to be relevant. I just am really lost on where to begin with the whole Pro Se thing. If I could afford it, I'd just hire an attorney, but I'm in the military, and attorneys are more expensive than my pay will allow.

Thanks again for any help you can provide.



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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #3 on: Nov 24, 2003, 12:17:11 PM »
You have a tough road ahead of you. One of the first things you'll hear is "Document, document, document!". Having good records is crucial, and these pages will help get you started:

Protecting Yourself During Divorce

Tips For Getting Started

How To Hire An Attorney

Hiring An Effective Attorney

Success Factors In Obtaining Custody

Some of these pages will apply more than others, but they all have valuable information. Also, get yourself either the Parenting Time Tracker (PTT) at: http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/tracker.htm or the OPTIMAL Custody Tracking service at: http://www.parentingtime.net. The PTT is free, but the OPTIMAL service is better.


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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #4 on: Nov 24, 2003, 01:37:02 PM »
A few things (other have mentioned also).  I am new to this but have a similar situation.
--Document everything - including explicit timelines, time with/without baby, etc.
--Investigate her background - a simple $100 can get you started with a decent PI firm - credit, criminal, etc. They can do this in minutes if you have her complete name and SSN.
--Be sure to tell your story - and point out how she uses the child against you (if she does - which it sounds like she does).
--Ask friends and family to write affidavits for you testifying to your character and your ability to care for a child, and mabe how/why your not abel to see your child. Have them notarized.
--Check your county/State to see if you can get free legal advice or maybe a lawyer pro bono. Some offer it.

You may want to sue for full custody, and/or liberal visitation. Be aware that you will probably be made to pay child support and maybe even retroactive from birth if you have not already. A patenity test is also a good idea if your not absolutely sure.
I think it may vary by state but here we started with a temporary hearing where the lawyers only made a brief statement, and we presented all our documents, then the judge decides with an order in a few days based on this. I am told Judges know there is alot of BS and look for empirical proof - so provide it when you can.


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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #5 on: Nov 24, 2003, 01:38:46 PM »
Trust me, she will turn it into a mudslinging contest, so if you have proof, use it.  

Denying of visitation, is wrong, for the child and for the denied parent.  If, and I don't recall, visitation was previously set up, just file contempt charges or a modification based on denial of visitation and phone contact.

If no visitation was addressed, then you need to file visitation papers to set up visitation papers, based on the fact that you are the father, and have been paying support.

If the things you are speaking of substanciate a subtancial and material change of circumstances, use them, as it will only benefit your case.

Going pro-se is not that hard, if you know the law and statutes, and you case is built on truths and you know that it is your place in your child's life your fighting for, it'll will come easy.

I will look up Utah's statutes and get an idea of what your looking at, and from there I can help you draft a petition to either modify or to begin court ordered visitation.

Let me know


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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #6 on: Nov 24, 2003, 06:26:33 PM »
Thank you very much for your support. I appreciate any help you can offer. My son is in Utah, but I'm in the military stationed in Florida.  I will probably be having many hours of phone conversation transcribed for the case, as well as taking another persons advice on a background check. This board is wonderful, and once again, thanks for your help.



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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #7 on: Nov 24, 2003, 07:36:05 PM »
When you are ready, just email me.  I do check the boards daily, so you can post a message also.  Also, do you have court ordered visitation or not?  That will help immensly.



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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #8 on: Nov 24, 2003, 08:46:21 PM »
you need to file a motion for a parenting plan, serve the other parent and show to court, you also need to document everything, the times you have called, the denial in visitation if you try to pick up the child, bring a friend along so he can testify to the denial. Keep all your phone records etc so you have a paper trial. Continue to try and visit the child.

Check the Utah court site to see if they have the forms online  many states do. and they usually give you instructions.

Good luck:-)


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RE: About to start the fight for Custody
« Reply #9 on: Nov 24, 2003, 10:15:30 PM »
The one thing to remember in any custody battle is that it all revolves around the BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD...

The best thing you can do is to do everything in your power to remain the calm, stable, manageable one.

Also, you mentioned you were in the military.  Are you active duty?  Really doesn't matter, but you have lawyers available to you for advise on this...  There are lawyers there that are versed in family law and they have the books available for all 50 states.

Talk to one about this, letting him/her know that you're doing this Pro Se.  Also, maybe they would be willing to look at all of your filings to make sure they are appropriate to form.

Last, get a membership to http://www.versuslaw.com.  Socrateaser recommened it to me several months ago and it has been a God send...  Look up case law that is related to your case.  It would help give you ideas as to how to approach yours.  The membership is $11.95 a month and it's well worth it.

I used versuslaw to find case law so we could sue my hubby's ex wife for all the stuff she put us thru over the years.  We just won a default judgment for just over $950,000.00.

I completely credit this site, Soc and versuslaw for giving me the courage to do this.

And do check out the sites Brent gave you.  Not only is he a tremendous help and a great asset to this site, the articles he's recommending are some of the best advice you'll get.

Lastly, tho she might not be one now, the family court is very good at creating narcissists.  They have the uncanny ability to allow these women to do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want, with little or no repercussions.  There is an article online about dealing with the narcissist in court.  There's a link to it from the articles page.  http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/narcissist.htm

Extremely informative article and it has helped me win more than one verbal battle with my hubby's ex.

Good luck to you.  You offer more stability than the mom, she bounces around, you are in a stable job, in a stable environment.

Also, when they get around to asking about day care arrangements, when the home study is done, thru the Family support center on base, they maintain a listing of certified day care providers that are certified thru the base.  They are all wonderful and my 9 year old has had more than one and loved them all.  When my hubby retired from the USAF, his day care provider cried, she was going to miss Eli so much.  


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