Tips for Moms
The Custody Project, sharing the following tips, hopes they may be beneficial and help save lives. However, TCP gives no warranty, guarantee or promise as to their authenticity, verifiability, accuracy, effectiveness, wisdom or truth, and is not responsible for their content. Tips are submitted by mothers and updated from time to time, and we have every reason to believe these are worthy of your consideration.
In California, the Certified Shorthand Reporters Board (CSRB) may provide
transcripts free of charge for those who qualify. Your state’s
CSRB might too!
“Yes” and “No” open and close doors and are
allies in custody and visitation matters. Each works simply. Trust them.
With your permission, both can work wonderfully, well, and quietly for
you and your children.
If your children are kidnapped, as were my daughters, fill out
The Hague Convention Application available through the U.S. Department
of State, Office of Children’s Issues (202.736.9130 / 202.736.7000). In my case, an attorney was provided to me free of charge and my children were returned to me. (See Testimonials
page for further information).
Across the country, some courthouses offer free pro per clinics at varying hours; some attorneys offer free consultation times at select hours in their offices, at libraries, and/or at court offices. There are local numbers for battered women and domestic violence shelters; some attorneys will take cases pro bono or at reduced rates through these agencies. For similar reasons, check your region/state for helpful organizations, nonprofits, attorneys, women's law centers, law librarians, state bar associations and paralegals. Check community colleges, colleges, university law libraries, and law departments as law professors, students, and librarians may help with portions of cases. Occasionally, your churches will help; sometimes private or individual sources will assist.
For those writing legal briefs, sample briefs (with names of the parties deleted), boiler plates, legal forms, legal reference books, and law books referencing the rules of court can be very useful and keep you timely. For papers and forms, also check with the legal clerks at the courthouse, and consult with attorneys, paralegals and law librarians. For sample superior court, appellate and Supreme Court briefs, ask attorneys or other mothers, with the request that the names of the parties be deleted. Sometimes, extra copies of unneeded briefs are disposed of at copy shops, courthouses and law offices.
Aside from the timeliness of filing dates, it is important that the correct legal points be cited and argued. Consult with attorneys, law professors and paralegals. Law librarians can help you find legal cites, and reading and understanding the case law helps, too.
Some hearings are very simple and you can save money by representing yourself. However, if at all possible, arrange to have an attorney represent you for custody hearings (and others of significant import). If you don't have a lot of money, see if you can work out a financial arrangement of payments over time so that an attorney can represent you for the custody hearings. Offer to do as much as you can, such as helping to organize your facts and exhibits, and doing your own copying and printing, to help reduce costs. If any, ask that interest be forgiven. Later, if you have sufficient money, lump sums can reduce and zero out your bill in lieu of continued payments over time, as most people prefer some cash now to extended payments. Lastly, certain court expenses occur only if you agree to them: research the law so that you know what legal expenses you can refuse. (In some areas, requesting court transcripts prior to the hearing can reduce their cost by half, and stating that you cannot afford a special master precludes a judge from appointing one).
Misuse usually occurs when isolated. For those faced with the abuse and/or molest of their children, you may be able to help your offspring by communicating effectively. Consider contacting your child's local hospital, physician(s), nurses, teachers, principal, caregivers, coaches, therapist, church(es), police for both the mother's and father's jurisdictions, as well as other professionals, and your child's friends and neighbors. Bring your visitation/custody court order(s) with you, explain the danger your children are (or child is) in and how each person can help, should your child or children disclose to him/her. Abuse decreases when people communicate effectively, when there are a lot of eyes watching children, and when a plan of action is in place.
Whether as mothers who have lost custody simply for asking to relocate, or for trying to protect their children from abuse, molest, and harm, and now, are reduced to supervised visitation, limited contact, and other severe and/or punishing court orders and developments, or for those experiencing legal punishments even as the custodial parents, know that you are not alone (see, Mothers on Trial by Phyllis Chesler). Nowadays, more people recognize retaliatory pattern and practice and will assist you in your quest to protect your children and give them better lives. For the difficulties you are going through, hold onto your faith, pray, and rely upon your spiritual strength - these are with you and your children.
Genuflection was written by a mom who successfully resisted eleven legal
attempts by her ex, who attempted to take custody from her and failed
every time. It is dedicated it to mothers everywhere.