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Hi, I live in WA state. I have two boys ages 14 and 10 yrs

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I live in WA state. I have two boys ages 14 and 10 yrs old from a prior relationship.
Their dad and I had made a verbal agreement they were going to live with him until I was able to resolve some medical and marital problems I was going through at the time. That was 5 years ago and he refuses to let me resume custody of my boys.
He was abusive to me and now the boys have expressed on numerous occasions that they are afraid of him as they have witness violence in the home. He refuses to make a "Parenting Plan" as he wants to keep the "paperwork" out of it.

Do I have rights as the maternal mother to resume custody even though he refuses to discuss it. He communicates to me through our 14 yr old son. What can I legally do?
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. If the father wants to keep "paperwork" out of this, then he will need to start cooperating with you and coming to an agreement. Seeing how he does not want to reduce anything to writing, he likely is not serious of trying to work this out with you. As such, you would need to proceed through the court and have custody or visitation awarded by the Judge. As the mother, you certainly do have legal rights to the children and he should not preventing you from exercising them. With that being said, you would want to file a motion with the court, requesting custody or visitation. Moreover, if the boys are afraid of him and there is violence in the home, you need to tell them to call 911 when it happens and also use this as evidence that it is not in their best interest to remain with the father, when you go before the court. If the father is abusive towards them, you should consider filing an emergency motion with the court.

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