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Lady Themis
Lady Themis, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7751
Experience:  Divorce, child custody, child support, etc.
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I am a single mom in PA, never married. Do I need a lawyer

Customer Question

I am a single mom in PA, never married. Do I need a lawyer to have the father held responsible for child support? And also, I want 100% custody of my son. Do I need a lawyer for that? And what is my best chance at establishing visitation rights for the father so that he would visit him only in my home (at least for now since I don't think that the environment he exposes my son to is a healthy one)?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 8 years ago.

Pennsylvania has a child support program which can help you get court ordered child support from the father. You don't necessarily need a lawyer to get a child support award. For more information and to get started, the child support website is here:


Custody is a trickier topic. In order to get sole custody, you have to convince the court that it is in the best interest of the child for you to have sole custody. There is a presumption that shared legal custody is best. Shared legal custody does not mean that your son won't live with you permanently, it just means that you and the father would share decisions regarding your son's education, medical treatment, religion, and so forth. Some parents will bring a custody petition, and if it looks like the court is not going to give them what they are asking for, they will then hire an attorney to protect their interests. This may be a good option for you.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
okay, the child support part is relatively straight forward. It sounds like joint custody would potentially be okay, but how do I go about setting up the visitation rights the way that I think they should be? Or should I just wait and see if he abides by the fact that I've told him that he can see his son by visiting him anytime at my home, but that I don't want him to take him out of the home?
Expert:  Lady Themis replied 8 years ago.

If you can agree that visitation will take place at your home on your terms, then you don't have to have a court order. But if you can't agree, you should get it in writing and ordered by the court. Usually it is the non-custodial parent who petitions for visitation rights. At that point, you would want to make sure to have as part of your order that the visitations will be in your home.