Whatt o do legally if I have a 6 month old son and his dad is willing to sign physical and legal custody over to me?

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Whatt o do legally if I have a 6 month old son and his dad is willing to sign physical and legal custody over to me?

I just applied for public assistance. I spoke to an attorney first and he said we could just file paper, but when I called friend of the court they said we would have to go to court. Which is correct? I would really like to get the matter handled as quickly as possible and going to court seems excessive. Is there any way I can have an attorney draft up papers or is there something we can file?

Asked on September 28, 2012 under Family Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

"Going to court" has a couple of different meanings to different people.  Both are really telling you the correct thing--- just not in full pieces.  If you want custody of your child, then dad can sign a waiver and agreed order giving you that.  Your attorney can file those papers with the clerk of the court.  Instead of having a full-blown, knock-down-drag-out hearing, your attorney will take you before a judge one day for a mini-prove up hearing which takes about 10 minutes.  Most judges want some minor testimony to the effect that you have reached and agreement, that agreement is reflected in the agreed orders, and that you believe these orders are in the best interest of your child.  So "going to court" doesn't necessarily mean "trial" or "major hearings."  It call also mean a simple "prove-up" for the judge to approve the agreement you reached with dad.  It's usually short, sweep, and simple.   Even though an order by a judge might seem extreme-- an order will give you the most protection by setting up clear rules and guidelines.  Without them, dad could just keep the child one day he decided to take the child for a visit.  With an order in place, you will have a way to secure the return of your child through an enforcement action.  Many parents never think it will happen to them, but it's always better to be safe than sorry... especially since you and he are in agreement mode. 


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