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My fiancee wants to file for Joint Custody of his two sons, how does he start the process? what are his chances of winning?

Kent, WA |

My boyfriend has two sons both 4 and 1 Years old, the mother of his children uses the kids as a pawn to get him to date her again bc she won't get over the fact that he's moved on. They have had heated arguments and sometimes the police were involved, me and him think she is unstable mentally bc of how she acts one day she's sending him I love You and lets just be friends for the kids texts then the next she tells him he cant see them and that shes tried to kill herself over him and that he's a deadbeat father for breaking up the family. She's driving him insane and breaking his heart by not allowing him to see the kids and constantly threatening him with child support even though he gives her money whenshe asks. He technically has full custody of the 5yr old due to him gettin taken by cps

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Attorney answers 2


first, your fiance needs to hire an attorney. he is not equipped to be,making sophisticated legal arguments. You have not provided nearly enough information so as to gauge the procedural aspect of the case. IS there already a PP. If not, has someone file a petition to establish a PP -- these are complex issues with no easy answers . Please schedule an appointment with a family law attorney to review the case from a factual as well as a procedural perspective.

Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This response is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship and is only based on the limited facts given. The response might change should additional facts be learned and should not be relied on as legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can properly assess the situation, as well as all pertinent facts, prior to taking any action based on the foregoing statements



no PP has been established, he's just scared of the whole process in general bc it's so complex and there's damaging facts and evidence to both parties characters. How much are family attorneys? Also since the CPS caseworker gave him full custody of the 5 year old and can't he just take the oldest one from her since there isn't any real physical paperwork stating she gets custody again?

Dave Hawkins

Dave Hawkins


No, you just cannot employ self-help. CPS is not the court -- there are an independent agency subject to the jurisdiction of the court. Most attorney offer a free initial evaluation as to whether they even want to take the case. As to how much, it varies. If your boyfriend is serious about this, he is the one that will have to make the commitment and do the work. what he proposes to do is very, very difficult and it will most likely be expensive. He shod,be on the phone contacting attorneys, not you. If he is unwilling to take that initial step, well, that speaks volumes.


WA does not recognize the concept of "joint custody." Normally one parent gets custody, and the other gets visitation. The facts you outline include a suicide attempt and removal of one child by CPS for abuse or neglect. These facts certainly favor your fiance in a custody battle with this suicidal and abusive mom. Your fiance should retain an experienced family law attorney to represent him. It sounds like you have a pending child custody case, and in a separate DV case the court suspended his visitation rights. The DV order trumps any other custody order, but DV orders normally last for only a year. Therefore, you are correct that you need to get a favorable order in the custody case. The judge in that case will have access to all the records in the DV case. Make sure the judge knows that your ex has violated the DV order and is in contempt of court in that case. 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 DV, CPS, child custody, and parentage cases for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "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.”

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes

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