What to do about custody and child support if you are not yet divorced?

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What to do about custody and child support if you are not yet divorced?

My child lives with me full-time, he sees his dad Tuesdays and Wednesdays but always spends the night at my house. His father and I are still married but separated (not legally) about 6 months ago and both moved to our own places. I was a stay-at-home mom until last week when I started work. He agreed to pay support to me and child support for at least 2 more months but now he is saying he wants 50% custody and not to pay anything anymore. He barely has time for our child 2 days a week and often leaves him with a sitter. What are my rights in this situation and how can I get legal help with no access to money?

Asked on November 14, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You must go to court and file for divorce, requesting a custody order, child support, spousal support, and attorneys fees (if applicable).  It is hard to predict what judges will do with regard to custody as the, "best interest of the child" is the standard and that is a bit ambiguous. 

If your husband makes less money than you and you hire an attorney, under Family Code 2030--you are entitled to have your husband pay for a portion or all of your legal expenses.

You should really talk to a local family law attorney about your case and get help.  If you try and decide you can't get an attorney, then you should call the local bar association and also go to the "self-help" office at your local courthouse.

Best of luck.


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