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Do I have a chance at gaining physical custody?

Rochester, NY |

The father has physical custody and we share joint legal custody. Holidays are to be agreed upon within reason and I have our 2 boys for the summers. I am to have reasonable contact with our children as well. The father has moved several times and always changes phones numbers without notifying myself of these changes (which is court ordered). He brainwashes our 2 children, telling them what a bad parent I am. I live just minutes out of state and provide full transportation. If he is found in contempt and proved of ruining my relationship with our 2 children, will my chances of gaining physical custody be higher? I go to court for first appearance on the 17th of this month.

The father has been their primary care taker for the past couple of years and I know that this is something the judge will look at but I feel it is not in their best interest for many reasons including these to reside with the father. I know that the judge will also look at which parent is the better one to abide but a judgement of order. The father is always wanting to fight with me, minimize my contact with our 2 children, and inform our children that I am a bad mother and do not care for them. I honestly feel that my relationship with our children is totally being ruined b/c of the father. The father claims that they do not want to live with me but yet when I actually get to talk to them they are always asking when I am going to come get them to go to my house. I am very hurt and upset by what the father is doing to our relationship and I want it to be changed. I will be representing myself and feel very confident about doing so, so please DO NOT recommend me to get a lawyer. Thanks.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

The problem is with proof. Proving that he is speaking ill of you to the children will be difficult. I know you say you do not wish to hire an attorney, but your chances without an attorney are very low.

Asker

Posted

I do have physical proof. So are you trying to tell me that unless I pay thousands of dollars for a lawyer, because I will be representing myself I am automatically gonna lose my case? If that happens to be then I feel that the NY court system is very crooked. Not everyone can afford a lawyer nor do they qualify for legal aid. That being myself. My husband has a great job but is the only income coming in while I'm attending college full time. But we do not have enough money to put up front for a retainer. He grosses over 55,000 a year which makes it not possible to qualify for legal assistance. So I guess I'm the pretty much screwed? I will fight anyway bc I'm not a quitter. There are many other reasons for my case in which I have proof of so I feel I will do just fine. Thanks.

Asker

Posted

I do have physical proof. So are you trying to tell me that unless I pay thousands of dollars for a lawyer, because I will be representing myself I am automatically gonna lose my case? If that happens to be then I feel that the NY court system is very crooked. Not everyone can afford a lawyer nor do they qualify for legal aid. That being myself. My husband has a great job but is the only income coming in while I'm attending college full time. But we do not have enough money to put up front for a retaine r. He grosses over 55,000 a year which makes it not possible to qualify for legal assistance. So I guess I'm the pretty much screwed? I will fight anyway bc I'm not a quitter. There are many other reasons for my case in which I have proof of so I feel I will do just fine. Thanks.

Asker

Posted

Didn't mean to post twice.

Susan Kathleen Duke

Susan Kathleen Duke

Posted

What I am saying to you is I would not represent myself in family court even though I am an attorney. You need an attorney without an emotional connection and with the skills necessary to accurately assess your case and present your information in the best way possible. You may have proof of his actions that is inadmissible under the rules of evidence, and you need an attorney to tell you this. You also will need to testify and cross-examine him and his witnesses, which is extremely difficult to do without an attorney. Family court is not as simple as "laying your cards on the table" and allowing the judge to decide. You will need to have a full hearing/ trial, and will be held to the same standard as if you were an attorney, which means you must know all the rules of procedure.

Asker

Posted

The evidence I do have is admissible in court. The child attorney has copies of all documentation I have and has already told me that the case will most likely go to trial. I am fully aware that I will be treated as an attorney and that custody battles are not simple. I would love to have an attorney but that is not possible in my situation which means I have no choice but to represent myself. So the only thing I can do is represent myself to the best of my ability and see what happens. I will not give up on my kids no matter what. If it takes me going to court several times before it is finally resolved then I guess that's what I will do. Thanks.

Posted

You should request that the judge appoint an attorney for the children to represent the children. You can also bring out to the judge the issue of parental alienation. You should document the chronology of the interactions between the father, the children and yourself. I know that you stated that you do not want to hire an attorney, howeve, in a battle for change of custody and parental alienation an experienced family law attorney would be helpful.

Asker

Posted

I appreciate your response. Thanks

Asker

Posted

I appreciate your response. Thanks

Asker

Posted

The boys do have an attorney.

Posted

Based upon the father's actions which are to interfere with your rights and his inability to forster a relationship between you and the children there is a good chance with all other things being equal that you can get custody.

I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is easy to do and greatly appreciated.

This advice is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship and is a general anwer to the question posed.

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