Ask an Attorney: Child Custody - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Ask an Attorney: Child Custody

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My ex-boyfriend and I broke up in 2009, and have a 6-year-old daughter together. For the last three and a half years we have had an informal schedule that we have been adhering to; however, now he wants our daughter full-time, which is concerning since he lives out of state. He gave me a packet with some legal documents and a letter from his attorney and I'm wondering what I need to do now and what my options are.

--Do not sign anything prior to having an attorney review (good advice if you are presented with any legal document)
--A preliminary question -- make sure case was filed in ND
--Packet contained S&C, AOS, and proposed PP
--Already signed AOS (simply admission she received S&C)
--Signed AOS starts clock running

What does that mean exactly?
--Specified number of days to respond to Complaint
--Contacted me within a couple days of signing
--Didn't sign parenting plan (main issue)

It does sound as though her main concern is her ex wanting their daughter full-time.
--Correct, but need more details prior to giving specific advice
What kind of information would you want?
--See the proposed plan
--Determine what their schedule has been
--In this situation the mom indicated she had child the majority of the time and dad one or two weekends a month
--Because of this there's some concern as to why an action is being filed now
--Sometimes a life event triggers the action (anything from mom getting a new boyfriend to social services involvement)-- although sometimes it's simply one or both parents would like to have an enforceable plan in place (which is always a good idea)
--No significant changes in recent months

Why is that information important?
--Helps me determine if dad has a case
--Again in this situation the dad only been seeing the child a couple weekends a month so it doesn't seem, with the facts given, that there's much of a case for dad being awarded primary residential responsibility.
--This indicates that it may be possible for the parties to reach an agreement during the required mediation, or possibly even prior to mediation.

So what is the next step?
--Needs to retain attorney as soon as possible since time is running to file answer
--File answer to complaint
--Contact the other attorney regarding possible settlement (if feasible)
--Once case is filed it will be referred to mediation (mentioned briefly)
--Required in civil cases such as this where residential responsibility is at issue
--The hope is always that the parties can reach an agreement that they are both satisfied with, which in this case seems likely

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