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Legal Advice on My daughter's father filed a temporary protective order against me and our child. Please Help What do I do?!

Tacoma, WA |

My daughter's (9 mo's old) father served me with a temp protective order against me & my child. I say "my" because although she is our child because, HE abandoned us over a month ago, leaving me to pay for 2.5 months of back rent on an apt. we were renting. Since I couldn't pay, we were evicted. I found out he left to stay w/ a woman he has secretly been w/ for over 1 yr. who is a former prostitute, also living w/ her abusive ex-husband who is a "recovering" addict. He "lives" there sleeping on a couch. I don't even have a speeding ticket on my record. I was served 3 hrs before flying to CA, where I have a job & home waiting. Order says she must stay w/ her father until trial, which he is also seeking custody. Reason for order is mental safety of my child, growing up not knowing father.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You need to take action now. You can get your child back in your care long before the trial. This is a complex matter, and I would suggest sitting down with an experienced family law attorney to work out how to fix this and fast.

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  2. The standard the court will use to determine who the child should stay with until trial is the "best interest of the child" standard. If you can show it will be in the child's best interest to reside with you prior to the trial, you may have a successful argument. However, you should confer with a local family law attorney to determine the appropriate motion to file to make this argument.


  3. You need to immediately retain an attorney to help you in this case. If you don't have the funds, ask your parents to help out. The courts discourage leaving with the child until a final parenting plan is entered, which can take up to a year. There are exceptions, and it sounds like you may have enough reason to get a court order allowing the move on a temporary basis. Until you get an order modifying the emergency order you were served with, you have to obey that order. It’s always best to consult with a good family law attorney to discuss the details before you act. See my AVVO Legal Guides on parentage cases, child custody, emergency motions, relocation, and interstate custody (UCCJEA) for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Please keep in mind that although these Legal Guides are often informative, they are no substitute for legal advice from an attorney you have retained for consultation or representation. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "Contributor Level - View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Contribution - Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful” or “best answer”.

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