Q: I’m at a loss as what to do. My ex and his wife are harassing me every day about what I can and can’t do with my kids.
My kids have been kept from me for 2 weeks then returned to me. I’m told what I can and can’t do with them on a daily basis. They won’t allow my 19 year old son to watch them when I need to work so now I’m not able to work as I have nobody else to watch them when they are with me. And our case was made in Illinois 7 years ago and never moved to AZ. What do I do with no money for a lawyer. It is causing severe anxiety and stress and the police said they can’t help me since the case wasn’t moved here.
A: Until the custody order is modified, the Illinois order remains the agreement between you two. Unless the order specifically empowers your ex to dictate who can provide child care, he has no authority to direct you who can and cannot watch your child(ren). If there is a right of first refusal clause in your order which requires you to offer to allow him to watch the child(ren) if you will be gone for more than x (usually 4) hours, then you must give him the OPTION to watch the child(ren) himself, but that does not mean he can tell you the 19-year-old cannot provide childcare. If he believes the child is in danger of abuse or neglect under the 19-year-old's care, his recourse is to involve child protective services.
Unless he has authority specifically conferred in the Illinois order, he cannot tell you how to care for your child(ren). He only has power over you if you allow him to have that power.
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A: I agree with what Mr. Branum wrote. I add that to register your order, you need to get two certified copies of the order from the Court in Illinois and go to Maricopa County Superior Court's web site and find the registration of a foreign custody order packet and do what you need to get it registered.
Even if you can't afford to hire an attorney, I would recommend at least consulting with one.
A: You should obtain a certified copy of the Order from the court in Illinois and file to "domesticate the judgment." Then you will need to address the issues in mediation or, if unsuccessful in mediation, through the Superior Court. There may be a form available to domesticate the judgment at Superiorcourt.maricopa.gov, or at the court in whichever county you reside. You must pay for forms at the court but they are free online. If you decide to hire an attorney, be sure to hire an experienced family law attorney.
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