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What are my rights as a mother with sole custody against an absent father of seven years who has never paid child support?

Lake Arrowhead, CA |

In 2006, I was awarded sole custody of my daughter, I did put visitations but he never exercised his visitations. Last known visitation was with grandmother in July 2007. My daughter was so young that she does not remember natural father or her grandmother. At the time natural father was never interested in her and purposely avoided child support order by never responding to the complaints. Now seven years later, he petitions the court for joint legal custody and visitation. We had our first hearing which judge ordered mediation. Before court order of sole custody and there was domestic violence involved. I have no idea who this man is. I don't know if he is still violent. He is a horrible father and has never done anything for the child. Can I get an attorney and have him pay for it?

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Attorney answers 3


The only way he should ever get to meet her is in a licensed psychologists office after her own personal therapist recommends it, if ever. It can be very delicate/damaging for a child to reunite with a absent parent. With the right leagal representation, he will not walk right into her life. the court will not order him to pay your attorney fees unless you were married and he now has more income than you. Although I highly recommend you get one asap.




Thank you so much for your response. My husband petitioned the court last year for step parent adoption (pro per). Since the biological father petitioned the court for visitation, my husband has hired an attorney. We have been able to motion the court for a mandatory stay in family law and proceed with the adoption. It is our hope, including child's, that the adoption will be granted. My husband is the only father she knows. He has been her sole provider since she was 2. Thank you for your advice. In the unfortunate case that I would have to go back to family court, I will seek a lawyer that would be able to protect our sweet little girl. I do have an addition question, I was married to this man. I am a stay at home, can the court still order him to pay my attorney fees? Again, Thank you for you time.


It is in your best interest to consult with a family law attorney who practices in the court wherein your matter will be heard to discuss the specifics of your matter.

California is a state that requires Child Custody Recommending Counseling (“CCRC” formerly “mediation”). It is standard for the court, and often automatic, when a Request for Order is filed to refer the parties to CCRC.

While it is possible to obtain an order for the opposing party to pay for your attorney fees related to your matter, it is not likely that you will receive all the money back that you will pay for an attorney (if you retain counsel). The court does award attorney fees; however, they are rarely comparable or equal to the amount of fees that are paid by the individual.

Nevertheless, you should consult with an attorney who practices in the courthouse wherein your matter will be heard so that you can review your matter and the specific issues of domestic violence, modification of custody, support and attorney fees.

Good Luck to You.

15+ Years Experience. DISCLAIMER: This answer and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should always seek competent counsel for advice on any legal matter.



Thank you.


Was there a court order for support? He should pay that, possibly pay for your attorney. Where does he live? Check his criminal record. DMV record, It all depends on how much justice you can pay for.

My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. These answers do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend I believe in telling the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ.. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are preparation of court documents it is , less expensive. However generally I believe an attorney is better than none, but many will offer a free consultation and a face to face meeting generally will be better, I like my clients to write a short one page history of the fact and questions they have prior to meeting with them, so nothing is forgotten.



Yes, there was a court order (complaint) but because he purposely lied and avoided the complaint, the case was dismissed. He lives in San Bernardino County. I will defiantly check his DMV and criminal record. Thank you.

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