Maybe you have a child and need child custody help, but are not married. You can begin a child custody case to handle parental rights and responsibilities, residence of the child, child contact and child support. Following is a general guide we hope will help you as you go through your parental rights case. Of course, there is no substitute for real legal advice, so call us today!
Steps of a Parental Rights Case
The parental rights case begins with service of a summons and complaint. We will need to file a Child Support Affidavit and Social Security Number Confidential Disclosure Form. You will need to attach a recent paystub and your most recent W-2 to the Child Support Affidavit. You should also begin to gather the following:
- Tax Returns for the past 5 years;
- Current statements showing balance of any and all debt, including credit cards and loans;
- Current statement showing balance of any and all assets, including but not limited to savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, and retirement funds; and
- Statement showing current balance of your mortgage.
Temporary Orders Pending Custody Determination
A Case Management Conference will be scheduled within a few weeks of filing. At the conference we will meet with the Magistrate (much like a Judge) who will address the issues involving your children. If we can agree on temporary issues, an interim order will be filed. Otherwise we will attend mediation and perhaps schedule a hearing. The Case Management Conference is meant to make sure that everything is going well for the kids and for you.
If an agreement is reached on the final issues of parental rights and responsibilities through informal discussions or attorney negotiations, a written settlement will be prepared and presented to the Judge for approval at the final hearing. If the Judge approves the agreement, it becomes a part of the final parental rights judgment and you have, in effect, written your own order. If an agreement is not reached, the final hearing will be a trial at which witnesses will testify and the Judge will decide all issues in dispute.
For more information about our services, please call 207-228-1139 to speak directly with a Portland, Maine family lawyer, or contact us by using our online form.
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