If my husband wants to get custody of his kids due to a bad bad home environment, how can he go about doing this?

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If my husband wants to get custody of his kids due to a bad bad home environment, how can he go about doing this?

My husband and his ex-girlfriend have 2 kids. He left her last year but could not take the kids. They are currently living with her AZ; we’re in SD. She does not work, have a car, and soon not have a place to live. She’s been tossing back and forth the idea of moving closer to us so he can see his kids, but all of a sudden she does not want them to see him. He is a great father and the only reason that she doesn’t want them to see him is because he’s with me now. We have a stable situation going, he works, and he wants to get custody. How if we can’t afford attorney fees?

Asked on April 8, 2011 under Family Law, South Dakota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am not saying that it is impossible to obtain custody without using an attorney but it can indeed be very difficult.  First, you need to know that you have to bring the custody action in Arizona, not in South Dakota.  The only court that has the right to make a decision regarding the children (called jurisdiction) is the court where the children live.  So first off you would have to travel back and forth to for clerical issues - filing and serving paperwork - as well as for court appearances.  So factor that in to the costs here.  Driving or flying it will take a lot of money. The proceeding is brought in Superior Court I believe and some counties - such as Maricopa County - have forms and self help sections on line.  You may want to take a look at that to start and get an idea of what is entailed.  Good luck.


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