My fiance and I, every time we get my daughter, which has been 2 weekends and a bunch of days for babysitting, she has had lice and been dirty. Nothing is set in court about custody yet, we can't find a good lawyer we can afford. We have documented everything we could and have pictures. The baby is 18 months old and I am the legal father. People keep telling us I can keep the baby legally and not have to give her back until custody is set. Is that true? We are going tomorrow hopefully to try and get temporary custody, but I am not sure how long it will take for that. This baby has had lice for 3 weeks straight and we treat her every time we see the lice, but we don't wanna give her back just so she can keep getting it! Help!
It sounds like you're going to have to find an attorney you can afford - or one who will be willing to enter into a payment plan with you. Any legal recourse you have will require an attorney, from temporary custody to full legal and physical custody.
This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor The Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results do not guarantee future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.
If there is no custody order in place, each parent can keep the child away from the other, but you should file for custody if you feel that the child is not being properly cared for. Or she can do the same to you.
If you really believe that your child is abused or neglected, you should file a hotline with the Children's Division. If they remove the child from her mother's house due to abuse and neglect, they may be willing to place the child with you. Have you been declared the legal father by a court? Much depends on the exact circumstances and facts of your case. You should at least schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney in the county where custody was established. You should be able to find an attorney who will agree to consult with you either for free or for a reasonable fee. During that consultation, you can ask the questions necessary to determine how you should best proceed, and if you can reasonably proceed (given the facts of your case) without an attorney.
The specific facts are different in each individual case, my response it provided for general, informational purposes only and should be be construed as specific advice directed to any individual person. Since I have not had the opportunity to review all the specific facts, and any supporting or explanatory documents in this matter, this general opinion should be be relied upon in your specific case. This communication is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any specific person, and should not be construed to create an attorney client relationship by any individual.
Unless otherwise ordered, you both have equal rights to the child (as long as you are on the birth certificate or have been ordered to pay child support). If you think that she is being neglected, you have every right to keep her. You should then immediately file a petition to establish custody and support. You may want to file for temporary custody at the appropriate time. In any case, you need an attorney to represent you. I would only resort to calling DSS if you truly think that there is abuse and you have exhausted all other avenues, it could prove more trouble than it is worth.
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