How do I file for full custody?

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How do I file for full custody?

Do I need an attorney or can I do it on my own? How can I prevent my daughter’s father from taking her unsupervised until I get custody? I don’t trust him to not try to leave the state with her and not come back.

Asked on October 29, 2012 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your first step is to file a custody suit.  If you are married to the father, you can combine this suit with your divorce.  After filing the suit, you can ask for temporary orders.  These orders can address your concerns while the suit is pending.  You can ask the court to restrict his visitations or restrict his movement with the child, or both--- depending on the facts of your case.  If you are just worried about him taking the child, but he has done nothing to harm the child, then the court may only grant you a restricted movement condition.  If he has threatened you or the child, then this would be a basis for restricted visitations. 

You can file a motion on your own, but it really helps if you do have an attorney help you through the process of filing the suit, preparing the petition, and requesting a setting on your motion.  Many family law attorneys will offer free or inexpensive consultations.  Visit with a couple until you find one that you are comfortable with and that offers a payment arrangement that fits your budget.  Because of the economy, more are offering payment plans and accepting credit cards than they had historically. 


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