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Author Topic: Custody Pro Se  (Read 2270 times)

Crockpot

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Custody Pro Se
« on: Apr 30, 2007, 11:26:58 AM »
I’m interested in hearing from people who’ve fought a custody battle Pro Se.  We’re in MN.  My fiancé is seriously considering trying for custody of his two girls.  His ex would not be represented either.  In reading the article on this web site about defining substantial change in circumstances, I'm confident we have enough.  But can we prove it...  

The latest is her telling us she’s being evicted after moving a month ago – her live in boyfriend moved out and cleaned out their account (she knew him a matter of months before he moved it).  He was providing her a car too, so she no longer has that either.  It will be oldest daughters 3rd school in 12 months.  She already struggles with school work, this is NOT helping.  

Is it possible to win a case Pro Se?  It seems so obvious to us the kids would be better off with us, but I know it’s not that easy.  


mistoffolees

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #1 on: Apr 30, 2007, 12:22:57 PM »
Different people will give different advice, but my advice is to not try this pro se. There is too much at stake and too many chances for a mistake that you might not be able to reverse later.

If you DO decide to do it pro se, you're going to spend countless hours learning how to do it, preparing filings, researching the law in your state, etc. IMHO, you're better off using those hours to work overtime or a second job to pay a professional.

DadOf_LnR

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #2 on: Apr 30, 2007, 02:49:20 PM »
I’ve been through a losing custody battle. My heart breaks for you and the pain you and your children have right now.  

You need the right people to help your broken family.  You need to have the right reasons for doing what you are about to do.  A custody battle brings emotional pain. Can you bare all that pain yourself? Can you perfectly explain the reasons for the battle you are about to bring? Do you know what truly counts for evidence and how to present that so called evidence in a court of law? Can you do all that, and negotiate with a bunch of strangers called the family law court system? If so then Pro se away!

A custody battle is damaging to children. Children are treated like a prize to be won or lost in a court room. Family law courts are too busy. Most of the people that work in the system do it to make money. The Attorneys are trying to bill more hours. The Judges are trying to clear their calendar and stop the noise of the self righteous whiny so called adults that litter their court room floors. This is a fraternity who are strangers to you. The courts can not make parents be better parents. They can not fix the problems that are keeping your children from flourishing. And, after the battle is over, both of you are still the parents of these children. It is up to you as a good parent to do right for your children; that’s a full time job in its self.  Whether your ex looses custody or not do you think they will want to work with you to be a good parent? Will they be humiliated and resent you and want revenge. Will they continue to use your children to get that revenge?

Having money and time to lavish on your children is more benificial than waisting it on a botched custody battle.

spinner

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #3 on: Apr 30, 2007, 03:18:42 PM »
you will have many advises.
I am myself going through custody battles and issues with ex-wife and oh boy do I wish she was getting eviceted like yours. Not that I wish it for the kids but if a little hurt can bring them 15 years of a better life then so be it.

Let's just say without being a lawyer that the fact that she is in a bad situation is to your advantage. As others said, it's a price to be won and no one in the court system will give much weight to your kid.

However I am from MN and there are a few things that count here especially in the Hennepin county.

1- where the kids go to school and school stability. GET KIDS REGISTERED IN YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT. pawn your life if you have to. I am kidding on the life part but this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
Judges and evaluators look at school stability as a bonnus x10 for the side that has the kids in their school. bad mom or not. where the kids go to school is the key.

2- do whatever you can to make the temporary situation last 6 month.
kids 6month with you plus school with you is a x50 bonnus, .....

If you can have the kids over 6 months and your school in september then wait the summer and wait the 6 month then file for a motion for custody change and ask for a custody evaluation. if you have the above, pro-se or not it's a winner.

3- never, never, NEVER bring the issue of child support. bite the bullet. be willing to pay it to her even though kids are with you. The court will examin you to see if the reason for custody change is child support and if it is or they believe it, the other barty just got all your points and you will loose.
However, try to never put on paper that you will pay her for ever. the trick is to make it a non issue then after you have custody for a month then go file for a hearing. sure you'll have paid 1 year more than you should but you'll be getting the CS for the 10 years to come after the fact.


Pro-se or not? Lawyers are better however they are not necessary. the court will see to lost soles in court and will not want to decide. They will order an evaluator to do their job and do an evaluation. If you have 1 and 2 and don't care for 3, ... 95% of the times the court will side for what the evaluator recommed.

There are great tips here on evaluation: do not bad mouth the other party, .... and stuff like that, ....

Hope thi s helps, keep us posted in the MN forum

Jade

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #4 on: Apr 30, 2007, 09:21:39 PM »
>I’m interested in hearing from people who’ve fought a custody
>battle Pro Se.  We’re in MN.  My fiancé is seriously
>considering trying for custody of his two girls.  His ex would
>not be represented either.  In reading the article on this web
>site about defining substantial change in circumstances, I'm
>confident we have enough.  But can we prove it...  
>
>The latest is her telling us she’s being evicted after moving
>a month ago – her live in boyfriend moved out and cleaned out
>their account (she knew him a matter of months before he moved
>it).  He was providing her a car too, so she no longer has
>that either.  It will be oldest daughters 3rd school in 12
>months.  She already struggles with school work, this is NOT
>helping.  
>
>Is it possible to win a case Pro Se?  It seems so obvious to
>us the kids would be better off with us, but I know it’s not
>that easy.  
>

For something as important as custody, I would definitely get a lawyer.  If you make a mistake, the kids will lose.  And given the instability that the CP's life seems to have (going strictly by your post above), you want to make sure that you do everything you can to give them a stable home.  


Davy

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2007, 03:38:27 AM »

Uhm ... first of all your post did not mention if there exists a standing custody order and if the issue is modifying an existing order.  Whatever !

I am not familiar with Mn.  Unfortunately I am familiar with attorneys and Pro Se.   I would not suggest to anyone 'to just get an attorney'.  I also would not suggest to try something as important as child custody as a Pro Se litigant.  

A Pro Se litigant absolutely requires a mind set of focusing on what is best for the children in the short term and long term.  Hopefully it is best for the children to have both parents.  At the same time, you can not control the mother's behavior only your own (father and soon-to-be SM).  I think it best if the fiance' remains in the background supporting and encouraging the father's endeavors.  It is important not to show any vindictiveness toward the mother at any time.  From your post, I think you are headed in the right direction.

As a Pro Se er working in the environment you described (mother unable to parent) I would develope/create a workable plan and collaborate with the mother...................  The following need to pretty much be on-going and simultaneous :

-quickly study various aspect of 'custody' ie prmary residence, access to the children, (forget about child support for the time being)

-interview several attorneys for the purpose of represnting you and the children (in case your plan is unworkable) or to finalize any agreement into a 'custody order'.  Take good notes.  

- ok Gulp !!  Meet with the mother BRIEFLY with the children not present.
(6 beers and 2 cheeseburgers might help).  It may/should take more than than one brief meeting.  Remember time is of essence.

-Sell her on the truth : it would be wise for you to care for the children at this time and will help to get her life grounded so she can better parent her children in the future.

This method will provide you an advantage if you need to appear pro se' in court and you and your children may not get screwed as badly.   Be willing (at first) to comprise but do not wimp out over her emotions.

Who knows, she is looking for a way out and she just might buy-in if she really loves her children more than she loves herself.  Everbody wins !

If you just 'get an attornry' and 'go to court' you may discover the court fnding the kids are doing great with their mother.

Hope this helps and best of luck in whatever means you use to resolve this matter.

Crockpot

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2007, 01:52:23 PM »
I appreciate all the responses.  There is an exsisting order in place.  SO is NCP and they share legal.  There is so much going on with my SO ex that we're torn as to what's best to do.  

She's moving into a 'shelter' of sorts for homless women and children.  She told SO that she'll only agree to turn the kids over to him if they have a date for her to get them back.  And she wants CS during the time we have them!  I'm going to suggest to SO to contact his attorney and get his advice on us getting an emergency hearing for custody (at least until BM has it together).  

There is NO need for those girls to live in a homeless shelter when their dad is close, has a place for them, and WANTS them.  

spinner

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2007, 01:56:40 PM »
again, just agree with the mother, giver her a date like in 9 month so that you can register the girls in your school for september and give 9 month to the mom to get back on her feet, ....
in 6 month file for a change of custody and you'll win for sure.

there is a clause in the change of custody that state that you have ground for a change if the kids are established in your home.
here you go, 6 month and school, ...
you'd be a winner for sure.

If you file now the mother will never agree as this is a money issue for her. she want to make sure she gets money, she is already in so much troubles, ...

play her game.
9 month is not that much and it will play in your favor in 6 months.

HelpingHands

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2007, 05:47:32 PM »
I would file for an emergency hearing as well. Reasons are that the mother is unable to provide a stable,safe home and will be soon entering a homeless shelter. That mom has proposed for you to take temporary custody with a specific date to return the children. Mom can't predict a date that she will be stable and it is in the children's best interests to be in a loving HOME, with family members while mom is in the shelter.

Status quo will be to keep the children with you and since mom will have shown instability by entering the homeless shelter when mom actually gets her sh$t together.

Has DH been current with child support? Just asking because you don't want her to use the 'well if dad was sending his support timely, consistantly, etc, we wouldn't be forced into a homeless shelter' card.

Good luck!

Crockpot

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RE: Custody Pro Se
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2007, 05:58:43 PM »
Yes, SO is current with child support.  

Will the court care that SO is out of work?  He was laid off about a week ago.  Since he'll take home about $100 a month after child support is taken from unemployment I have to support him, which I can do.  He certainly will be able to spend a lot of time with the kids if they come live with us!

He's calling his attorney tomorrow.  I don't know where we'll get the money, but we'll figure it out.

Thanks so much for the support.  

 

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