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What are the steps I need to take to request supervised visitation now that I am out of prison after two years.

Olympia, WA |

It wasn't a sex offense or drug/alcohol & had nothing to do with my son.His other parent was declared unfit & won't use their sup. vis. allowed. I've completed all court requirements except 1 & wish to start the process of requesting court to allow me sup. vis. with my child since I'm out. I had full custody prior to incarceration and maintained an ongoing and healthy relationship with my son while I was gone. We spoke nearly every day and wrote letters/cards, sent gifts regularly. We exchanged photos and discussed his daily activities. I respectfully request help so I may begin the process of asking the court for this. I don't know where to start. Please tell me how to do this myself. I cant afford attorney and ask for instructions. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer
Posted

One parent was in prison for two years. "His other parent was declared unfit". So, where has the child been living the last two years?

There must be some sort of court order regarding the child these last two years. You should start by reviewing the court order to see what the court has ordered regarding the child.

If the court has not restricted your time with the child, it may well be that you can simply go and pick the child up since you are the child's legal parent. Of course, this turns out well only if the persons with whom the child has been living agree.

While you believe you "cant afford attorney and ask for instructions", it may in fact be less expensive to go over the facts with an attorney to understand what your legal options are. Doing the wrong things may turn out to cost you money, time, and effort to correct the mistakes. If you do the wrong things, you may be ordered to pay attorney's fees for the other parties.

If you are going to do things by yourself, you should start reviewing the free information at http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/ . This group provides many informative self-help guides.

Asker

Posted

With the Guardian.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your information. I assume a "Residential Schedule" is the same as the Parenting Plan mentioned. Therefore, I am seeking a modification of the Residential Schedule which clearly states the terms the court set forth for visitation, as in: supervised for the other parent, and for myself, I was to petition the court following release AND after fulfilling the courts requirements of the mentioned classes. I would never do anything to place visitation with my child at jeopardy. I want to follow the courts orders explicitly and do everything to the letter of the law.

Thuong-Tri Nguyen

Thuong-Tri Nguyen

Posted

"Parenting plan" is the name of the order issued for parents who were married with each other. "Residential schedule" is the name for the order issued for persons who were not married with each other. In fact, both orders are the same pattern form published by the court's administrator. There is just a check box in the caption to indicate the name of the document. If the court ordered you to file a petition, then that is what you should do after making sure that you have done everything possible to make yourself to be considered by the court to be a fit parent.

Asker

Posted

The one thing I cannot understand is what people without funds for representation should do as an alternative? I have been reading thru the free information you provided and will continue exploring the helpful information it contains. I need an attorney and feel it is essential to my child's continued progress to be reunited, even if only supervised. For obvious reasons I cannot afford to pay anyone. If anyone has any suggestions on how to gain legal representation for this family law issue with no $ I would gladly seek representation on this matter. I doubt it will be a lengthy process. I have gathered some declarations and continue to and will continue to until I am ready to make this request for modification to the court. I have done much of the initial leg work and if anyone can recommend a way to get legal help then I wouldn't have to risk my luck with not making errors. I know I am not "entitled" to any help, but I would sure appreciate it if someone could help me. I did my time and I am doing everything right with this for my child. Maybe you know of an organization who offers free assistance to people in these matters. Im not asking you or anyone else here to do this work for me, but if you knew of any resources, that would be of great help to me. Thank you.

Posted

YOU would file a Petition to modify the current PP

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

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your answer. Space is ltd. or I would have said I was going to do just that. I have taken parenting class, anger mgmt., drug/alcohol assess all successfully completed. What other steps can I do to improve my chances? I was thinking of incl. letters from those who know me as a parent, does the court allow that? I want to be thorough and do whatever I can the first time. How do I ask court for telephone hearing? Is there a form for that?

Posted

I agree with the previous response. You need to file and serve a Petition to Modify the Parenting Plan based on the new circumstances. In addition, you will need to file declarations and information regarding rehabilitation and completion of all court requirements.

Peter J. Abbarno practices in the State of Washington; primarily in Thurston, Lewis, and Cowlitz counties. The response is limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. No response to any posted inquiry shall constitute legal advice, nor the existence of an attorney/client relationship. www.centralialaw.com

Posted

It sounds like somebody has custody of your child under a nonparental custody decree (I base this on your use of the word "unfit," which is a required finding in nonparental custody cases). If your decree has specific requirements that you must meet in order to begin supervised visitation, then you simply need to follow that provision, which may include providing proof to the custodians that you have met those requirements.

If your decree does not include such language, then I agree with the other answers saying that you would need to file a petition to modify the decree so that the requirements for your visitation can be clearly addressed.

The forms you need to do this can be downloaded for free from the Washington Courts web page. I've provided the link below. You would use the forms to modify a parenting plan.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you should contact the Northwest Justice Project to see if you qualify for free legal aid. There is a form on their website you can fill out to get that process started.

Asker

Posted

very very helpful! thank you!

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