If I have just gave birth to my newborn sons and need to establish custody of them so I can file for child support, what do I do?

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If I have just gave birth to my newborn sons and need to establish custody of them so I can file for child support, what do I do?

The father is in another state and has not been in their lives but seems to think he deserves custody of them. How do I go about getting this all started?

Asked on September 28, 2012 under Family Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You start off by filing a custody suit in the state where the children reside-- which would also be your home state.  He will need to be served with notice of the suit and have an opportunity to be heard.... but do not confuse this with a guarantee that he will get custody.  During the custody suit, you can ask for final or temporary orders which grant you custody, him visitation rights, and order him to pay child support.  Considering that these are newborns, you have a very good chance of retaining custody as long as there is nothing unusual in your parenting style (like testing positive for meth after you gave birth).  As long as you can show that you have been a responsible parent-- all the way through-- you should be able to keep custody.  It helps if you have a family law attorney to get you through this process.  Many family law attorneys now accept payment plans.  If you cannot afford one, try to find a legal aid group in your area to at least help you with the motions.


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