If I’m a stepmom, what do I need my husband present to file for custody or can I do it on my own?

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If I’m a stepmom, what do I need my husband present to file for custody or can I do it on my own?

My husband has a 9 year old son with his ex. He also pays $400 in child support each month. But I dint think that the money is used on his son at all. His son comes over in old small clothes every weekend. There are times there is no food in the house (at his’ ex’s house). I think she is abusing pain medication. Her speech is always slurred and she has a hard time remembering what time of day it is. Plus, she’s trying to move 2 hours away. With no job.license, or anything. She wants to live close to an aunt that called Children Services on her and her dad that’s not supportive.

Asked on August 26, 2012 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your husband is the person with "standing" or the right to file for a modification of child custody.  What you can do to help him is to record or document the condition of the child when you first receive him (i.e. clothes too small, not clean) or to make specific notes on ex's condition on certain dates.  If she has already been the subject of a CPS investigation, the combination of the investigation, notes about the child, and an offer to be a better support system for the child should improve your husband's chances of being awarded custody of his son.  Talk to a couple of family law attorneys until you find one that you are both comfortable with. Don't hire someone that you don't like talking to... because family law cases often turn on personal details--- if you don't trust the attorney to talk about the details, it will hinder their ability to help you.


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