How to include money matters in the hearing about child custody & visitations without giving a bad impression about myself?

Father filed for custody & visitation modification.I don't want the judge think that I am angry about father not paying child support & owes a lot in arrears, so the judge would think that this affects father's visitation rights, because it doesn't and I can prove it. It was the father who didn't excercise his visitation rights and not only that, but by his conduct made himself even more apart from our child, which in the end resulted in a restraining order against him, where both our child and I are protected parties. I was taking the child to counselling, because of the negative impact. Still I need the judge to know the facts about my ex owing me money. I want to file Notice of Delinquency also, because my ex is not paying child support over 9 months. How do I include it in my response?

Tarzana, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Cathleen Elisabeth Norton

Cathleen Elisabeth Norton

Child Custody Lawyer - Beverly Hills, CA
Answered

Depending on the judge, you should probably keep issues of child support separate from issues of custody and visitation, unless you believe that the reason dad is requesting more custodial time is to reduce his child support obligation. Ideally, you should hire an experienced family law attorney who can represent you at the hearing. If that is not possible, I suggest that you begin educating yourself on the factors that the court will consider relevant on a custody and visitation request. Remember to register for the PACT class, and attend before your Conciliation Court date. I am including links below which I hope prove helpful. Good luck to you.

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Dennis Patrick Wilson

Dennis Patrick Wilson

Family Law Attorney - Burbank, CA
Answered

As you stated child support and visitation are separate. In response to the OSC re Modification you set forth the facts of the father's non-involvement in the child's life, what he has done to traumatize your child and alienated himself. You want Dad to be part of the child's life but want to make sure he has changed and has all of the right tools now like parenting classes, anger management, ongoing counseling and therapy. Also you will need Dad to pay for conjoin therapy for the child, Dad and you so he can be transitioned back in slowly into the child's life. A step up visitation schedule based upon mile markers would be appropriate. If he is behind on the child support you could file a Contempt proceedings. Including the a statement about how Dad has been delinquent on his support could be linked to his prior failures to help the child with the child's activities, etc.

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Joseph Torri

Joseph Torri

Family Law Attorney - Irvine, CA
Answered

I agree with Ms. Norton. If you can't afford an attorney, educate yourself on the law, and be prepared to ask and answer questions. Also, don't automatically assume you can't afford an attorney. Many people assume they can't afford a Los Angeles County Child Custody Attorney. Make some phone calls. Attorneys generally don't represent themselves on their own cases. I see people without attorneys in court generally not get the full attention from the judge they deserve. If you truly can't afford an attorney, make sure the judge listens to you. You have a right to speak.

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