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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 29575
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My x has sole custody. What are my rights within the law of

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My x has sole custody. What are my rights within the law of this?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Do you mean that you already have a custody order in place? If so, how long has it been since the order was entered? If not, are you listed on the birth certificate or is there a test establishing paternity?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am divorced and with a divorce decree and now the part in the decree would be custody my x has it now. Yes there is a birth certificates with me on it.

Thank you.

If the divorce decree was entered less than 30 days ago, you can file a Notice of Appeal, stating that you wish to challenge the custody order. If it's been more than six months, then you have the ability to file Motion for Modification, if there has been a significant change of circumstances since the custody order was entered. The judge will look at the reasons that he initially gave your ex custody and see if things have changed such that it's in the best interests of the children to either give you partial custody or increased visitation.

If it's been between one month and six months, typically, the thing to do would be to look at the reasons that the judge gave custody to your ex and see what you can do to help turn those factors in your favor. If the judge made any negative finding about you, you can try to turn those around. If he didn't, then you can use your visitation to try to show that you are a good father. Make sure that you can show a good relationship with the children, because that will help you.

In some cases, it may also be possible to file a Motion for Relief from Judgment. That usually requires that you are able to show newly discovered evidence that was not available at the time of the original hearing and could not have been found through reasonable diligence or some kind of fraud on the court.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The divorce was in 2012 and I never received any legal documents after the trial 2 weeks ago to know anything about finding which is why I have asked what are my rights. I am unsure what is supposed to proceed after a trial where my x has sole custody. There is an order from Feb 2012 that gives visitation but I am looking for a lot more visitation but don't even know what are my rights. I am unclear as to what needs to be done now.

First, you can start exercising your visitation in accordance with the court order immediately. If your ex won't allow it, she's in contempt of court and you have a right to file an Order to Show Cause. The judge would then order her to comply with the order and can impose sanctions on her (usually fines). It may be best to try talking to her in advance, reminding her of the order, and letting her know that you want to start using the visitation. If she won't help, and threats of going back to court don't help, then you can file another case. The fact that you haven't seen them is NOT a waiver of your right to visitation and cannot be used to deny visitation unilaterally without going back to court.

If you have court-ordered visitation and haven't been using it, honestly, the judge isn't likely to increase it. It may be better to start the visits, see how things go, and then move to modify the custody order in six months or so. Not exercising visitation tends to count against you, even though you didn't know what to do. So the first step is to start spending time with the child(ren) again.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have been visiting consistently and the visitation order is from Feb 2013 and has been followed to this day. I am trying to get more visitation and am without any guidance as to know what is supposed to happen when you lose custody. Was supposed to receive legal documents after trial? How can I find my rights because I feel like since I don't know what are my rights I can't enforce.

The only documents a person gets after trial is a copy of the court order, outlining the custody and any child support. There aren't any sort of legal revocation of custody documents or anything like that - you just get a copy of the judge's order.

The order gives you a right to visitation with the children as outlined in the order. The other rights that apply to this situation are the right to initiate Contempt proceedings if your ex refuses to follow the order, and the right to seek to modify the order if there is a material change in circumstances. If your ex tried to move out of state with the children or reduce your custody further, you'd have a right to receive notice and be heard. Essentially, your rights are provided by the court order. If any portion of the order is violated, you can try to enforce it. If you don't have the order, you can call the clerk of the court and ask them to send you one.


If what you're asking is if you have a right to increase visitation, no, you don't. The child has a right to be with the parent that is determined to be best for him, so either parent that wants to spend time with the child has an obligation to first prove why he should be allowed to do so.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you. I never received any order or any document after trial which is why I'm going from the last order that gives any visitation which is from Feb. 2013. What should I do?

If you can easily get to the courthouse and you need it immediately, you can go in and ask for a copy. Otherwise, if you call the clerk of the court, they should be able to mail it to you and you'd have it in a few days.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If I want to modify the visitation I will need to prove as to why I should be granted more visitation?

Yes. You also need to show that things have changed since the original order was entered. To do that, you'll want to read the order. Look at the reasons the judge used for giving custody to your ex. See whether if those things have changed and, if not, look at how you can change them.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is there an actual way to access what are the rights of individuals without custody?

The rights of an individual who doesn't have custody are what I have explained above. Many people think that there is a comprehensive list of all rights that exist for people, but that's unfortunately not how the law works. The Bill of Rights lays out the basic, fundamental rights that exist for all people in the United States, but beyond that it's just a question of what is permitted by various statutes.

If you're wondering about something specific, I can address it, but I'm afraid I don't know what rights you're looking for other, other than what we've discussed.
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