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Lawrence D. Gorin
Lawrence D. Gorin, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1506
Experience:  30+ years family law experience. QDROs, UIFSA, UCCJEA expertise.
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My girlfriend and I had a child together. We are not ...

Customer Question

My girlfriend and I had a child together. We are not married and she has livd in my home for about 4 years. We have decided that we are not meant for one another and we will go our seperate ways soon. She will leave our son with me when we depart. Question: Will I need to have legal papers drawn to show I have full custody of our son? Or is there a time limit in Arizona to where I would have full custody of him without legal papers since she would not be living in my home? What are the general charges for such paperwork if needed?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 6 years ago.
YOUR QUESTION:
My girlfriend and I had a child together. We are not married and she has livd in my home for about 4 years. We have decided that we are not meant for one another and we will go our seperate ways soon. She will leave our son with me when we depart. Question: Will I need to have legal papers drawn to show I have full custody of our son? Or is there a time limit in Arizona to where I would have full custody of him without legal papers since she would not be living in my home? What are the general charges for such paperwork if needed? (Chandler, Arizona.)

ANSWER:
The situation is governed by Arizona Revised Statute § 25-401, which says that “A child custody proceeding is commenced in the superior court by a parent by filing a petition for custody of a child born out of wedlock if there has been a prior establishment of maternity or paternity.

So that is what you need to do: file a petition. And if you and the child’s mother are both in agreement with you having custody of the child, she can stipulate (agree and not object) to the judgment for custody that you are seeking through your petition. The result will be a stipulated court judgment that declares you as having legal custody of the child.

Always best to employ the services of a lawyer to get this done, and to be sure that it gets done right. But if you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try (and may very well be successful) in doing it yourself. Check the following Arizona Internet resources for free forms and "self-help” with the custody proceeding:

Custody, parenting time, and child support: Starting a case (PDF packet from Coconino County).
http://www.coconino.az.gov/lawlibrary.aspx?id=1413

Establish custody/parenting time, or custody/parenting time and support. (fromMaricopa County.
http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/Forms/FamilyCourt/fc_group_7.asp

Petition form:
http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/packets/drcv1.pdf

Workshop Flyer – How to Complete Papers to Establish Child Custody, Parenting Time and Child Support
http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/pdf/workshop_flyer.pdf

Help on completing the Petition to Establish Child Custody
http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/pdf/drcv11i.pdf

=========================
---> NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER (“The Fine Print”): The foregoing response is based only on the facts gleaned from your inquiry and does not constitute a definitive legal analysis or evaluation of the facts and circumstances of your particular case and the law applicable thereto. The information provided here should not be the sole basis for your decision(s) regarding the handling or resolution of the legal problem or issue presented. Limitations and restrictions of this forum prevent any claim or guarantee as to the completeness, accuracy or adequacy of the information contained herein and no such claim is made or guarantee given. The foregoing response to your inquiry is not intended to be and should not be accepted as a substitute for the professional legal advice and counsel that can only be given by a lawyer licensed to practice in the state that has jurisdictional authority over the case. I am licensed to practice law only in the state of Oregon. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by or through the response(s) given here. (Sorry this is so long. But I’m a lawyer, so it should come as no surprise.)

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Lawrence D. Gorin, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1506
Experience: 30+ years family law experience. QDROs, UIFSA, UCCJEA expertise.
Lawrence D. Gorin and 9 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Lawrence,

Sorry for the delay. I have been out of town. I have accepted your answer. My other question in my initial email was what are the approximate costs for this petition?

Thank you,

Bill

 

Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 6 years ago.

If you hired a lawyer to do do this, I estimate a reasonable fee would be somewhere between the range of $750 and $1,500, plus a $206 filing fee (and, possibly, a fee for service of legal papers on adverse party). (At least that is what it would be for this type of proceeding here in Oregon. But I don't think Arizona would be much different.)

If you do it yourself.....
Affer you complete the initial paperwork, take it to the Self-Help Center at the county courthouse in your country (Maricopa, I belief).

Central Court Building
201 West Jefferson, 1st floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85003

The court is open from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You should go to the court at least two hours before it closes.

There is a filing fee of $206.00 plus service fees for all Petitions. If you feel you
are entitled to a fee deferral (postponement or payment plan), you may request a
deferral of the filing fees (and the Sheriff’s service fees if you intend to use the
Sheriff’s Office for service) at the time you file your papers with the Clerk of the
Court. The Self-Service Center and the Filing Counter have the deferral forms.

Hand all three (3) sets of your court papers to the Clerk along with along with the
filing fee of $206.00. Cash, VISA/MasterCard debit or credit cards, money order, or
personal in-state check made payable to the “Clerk of Superior Court” are
acceptable forms of payment.

All of this is found in the instruction at:
http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/packets/drcv1.pdf

OK. That should do it. I wish you well.

LDG

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