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I pay child support and my ex wife wont let me see my child.Ican't afford an attorney and cant get court appointed.

Baden, PA |

How do I get to see my child.without it taking months.and domestic relations says theres nothing they can do to help me.I tried neighborhood legal services to no avail how can I get help

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

Go on the court's website and see what forms they have available. Generally most domestic relations courts make pre-printed forms available that are very easy to use. In Ohio the procedure you're looking for is called Modification or Reallocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities. Ask the clerk what form you need to fill out to accomplish this. While you'll be 100% times better off with a lawyer, you can, in theory, argue this motion on your own. I urge you to read the part of the code in your state that deals with custody. In most states there is a presumption that a fit parents has a right to visitation with his child. If you don't have a criminal record or history of abuse / neglect, you have a good shot at winning some visitation. Be sure to document every time your ex refuses to let you see your child.

By the way, what did your divorce decree say? If it says you have visitation, she cannot bar you from seeing your child regardless of whether your child support was ever late, whether you've missed days in the past, or whether she just feels like the child is better off without you. None of these are reasons to violate a court order. If she is doing this than she can be held in contempt.

Also in some states like Ohio, a party can ask the judge to order the other party to pay for that party's attorney fees. If your ex wife is illegally keeping you from seeing your child in violation of a court order you might have that option if its allowed under PA law.

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13 comments

Asker

Posted

This is why many states now have independent paralegals who will draw up the proper pleadings for a person, but not represent them or give legal advice. It works well for people who are self-represented and really are lost when it comes to filling out all the forms alone, not to mention how to file, etc.

Asker

Posted

Yes it is contempt of court but you have to get an attorney to enforce it. We have tried all the steps that every legal advice has given and now she has even moved and we have no idea where she is at . I havent seen my child since March 2012. I missed his 3rd birthday and he missed Fathers Day even though I called . She ignores all phone calls and even changed her number. The last time I tried to pick him up , the place they lived is now empty. No one wants to help and if you dont have at least $2000. to start your just screwed .

Asker

Posted

This is why many states have LEGAL DOCUMENT PREPARERS who will help someone draw up necessary paperwork for court w/o charging $2K retainer. And you're correct, it's AT LEAST $2K to get started... and I'm not certain where you would find a lawyer these days that would take on a Family Law case for less than $5K - $10K retainer. If you need assistance, try Legal Aid OR try finding a paralegal or Legal Document Preparer, if your state is one who has them. They are a Godsend in a situation like this, IMO.

Christopher Joseph Tamms

Christopher Joseph Tamms

Posted

Anonymous obviously has no clue what he is talking about. Legal document preparers are basically engaging in unauthorized practice of law. I'm sure these "legal document preparers" have malpractice insurance too. Everyone has a near absolute right to go into a court and represent themselves pro-se, but it's another matter entirely to let someone charge people to "prepare documents" with no responsibility. A better idea would be to pay an attorney to review what you hare prepared. And No, that doesn't cost $2k.

Asker

Posted

ANONYMOUS is certified by the Arizona Supreme Court to prepare legal documents for the public. The AZ Supreme Court oversees the program and disciplines CLDP's, as well as lawyers. UPL statute sunsetted in Arizona in the 80's, and certification began in 2003. You are misinformed. People need access to the legal system, and they oftentimes cannot afford attorney's fees. If a pro se litigant can afford a legal opinion consult with an attorney, great! California followed Arizona's lead and also has a program. In this economy, it's a solution for those who need access to legal services for their very important legal matter and have no other choice...or would like another choice.

Asker

Posted

Mr. Tamms - I saw your profile and I have to say that you look like one of the hard-working, diligent attorneys out there who don't overcharge and probably just work hard doing the right thing. To quote: Fixed (Sometimes), Free Consultation (45 minutes), Hourly ($125-$150/hour) You are probably as accessible as any family law lawyer could be, in a financial sense. Impressed.

Christopher Joseph Tamms

Christopher Joseph Tamms

Posted

Honestly I try to be. I also do a lot of work for lower income folks through our local legal aid chapter. In my experience someone coming into court without an attorney is always at a disadvantage; however, that person also wastes the Court's resources because they cannot be counted on to properly participate in the proceedings. It's not their fault, but the result is a clogged up Court docket that affects everyone. I know many MANY lawyers in my locality who work with lower income clients all the time. We do payment plans that allow people to pay a little bit each month over time. There are lots of lawyers out there looking for opportunities and there is a great un-met legal need. While most attorneys won't work for free (nor should they) you'd be surprised how many newer attorneys would be happy to work out a reasonable payment plan (provided its followed through with).

Asker

Posted

That's great - It looks like you're from a smaller community and not a metropolis, and the community relies upon you. I'm originally from Cincy, but now a CLDP in Arizona. I do agree with you about representation, when a good lawyer is retained. I live in Maricopa County, AZ and the divorce rate is like 75%+ and the courts are so clogged here. That makes a huge difference re affordability, as we have lawyers charging $350-$500 per hour for family law cases. Not unusual. Lots of people are disgruntled when the attorneys rack up huge bills and wait for 6 months to lay the bill on them. They just have no idea and then the attorney dumps them in the middle of the case. Then, they come to be because they're broke and on their own. Hats off to you, sir. I can infer from your fee structure that you are reasonable and hard-working.

Asker

Posted

...come to me

Asker

Posted

My ex is ignoring my phone calls and txt messages I have missed 3 scheduled parenting times because she won't let me see my kids. I heard in Indiana u can get a temperature restraining order on the custodian parent to stop missed parenting time what's ur opinion on this

Asker

Posted

temp. restraining orders are not to be substituted for a remedy in a family law case, IMO. if a person has an order for parenting time, find a lawyer or ask the court about self-service paperwork to ENFORCE the orders you already have. if your order is very specific, and the other parent has violated the order, you could also call the police to enforce the order. it may be a crime in your state. if you don't have a parenting time order, then start a court action to get one!

Asker

Posted

was just curious because after reviewing in.gov witch is indianas state website it actually said on there about using the temp restraining order and just trying to find out if anyone has done it n how it worked

Asker

Posted

perhaps that is their nomenclature for an enforcement remedy? you should look at your county's court website for self-help forms! where i reside, we don't call it a restraining order, we call it an Order to Show Cause......or, Petition to Enforce; Petition for Contempt. every jurisdiction is different. See if your state or county bar association has any type of program to help persons who cannot afford a lawyer. See if you can find a lawyer that will give you a free consultation. I know it's tough with the economy right now, but perhaps there's a way to hire an attorney to assist you. High conflict custody and parenting time issues can be tough to litigate. Check your order and if it's clear to police that she's in violation of the order, then call the cops! It's always good to have a certified copy of your order in your possession for such purposes!

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