Q: I self filed for a complaint to Establishing Paternity, Custody, Parenting Time, and Child Support.
Am I able to self file to ask the judge for a temporary parenting plan? As my ex spouse has completely cut me out of our daughter's life and I'd like to have time with her during the proceedings.
If it is an original action (not a modification of a prior order), then the Court will normally allow the parties to set the case for a temporary hearing. You are not required to have an attorney to assist you with a custody case. However, you are still held to the same court rules and procedures whether you have an attorney or not. Thus, although you aren't required to have an attorney to file a motion for temporaries, you may need an attorney if you aren't sure how to do it properly.
If the parents were married, then the custody case would usually be part of a divorce or legal separation action. If a divorce decree has already been entered and you want to ask to change the custody/parenting time in the order, then you would usually file a modification action, not an another original action. It would have to be a highly unusual set of facts for it to be appropriate to file a paternity action if you and the other parent are or were married. Paternity actions are usually for cases when the parents have never been married.
A: As Julie mentioned, you do not need an attorney to seek a temporary parenting plan in a normal divorce or paternity case. However, an attorney will have the expertise and experience to guide you through this process. Your posting makes it seem like there may be an existing court order, which could change how you approach being denied access to the child. Although the specific details of your case will ultimately control who is awarded custody, and how and when someone has access to a child, it is always recommended to protect your legal rights as soon as possible.
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