Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hi! I'm Heather. I've been a practicing attorney for the last 15 years, and I'd be happy to assist you for informational and educational purposes.
What state are you in?
In most places, you can obtain a protective order if the father has physically abused you, which he has. The order will usually also give you an immediate custody order. That is your fastest way to get a court order to get your child back. The other alternative to getting your child back, which you should also do, is to file a paternity case against him, and ask the court to make temporary orders as soon as possible including awarding you physical custody. Be careful to not sound like you were "dumping" the child on him, but rather just phrase your docs to state that you were giving him parent-time, and instead of returning the child, he has totally withheld the child and refused to return the child, and that the child is suffering because you have been the acting custodial parent. If the child is still breast feeding at all, you might bring that up too (some children I've seen breast feed past age 1 sometimes).
In most states, you can still file for one, even if you do not do it immediately. Just make sure that you make clear to the court that you are in fear for your safety. How long ago did the violence happen? The court will probably need you to explain why you waited, and alot of girls wait because they are threatened or afraid. Here's the website that has the forms you need to fill out. http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm?filter=DV
Let me know if that helps?
Your job, while it might be true that you cannot get a day off, normally if you were very afraid of him, that would not be the real reason that you waited several months to file for the protection order. I think the reason is more of that you did not know what to do, you were scared, and had no idea what your options were. As soon as you found out that you could file for the order of protection, you did it.
It is important that you let the judge know that (1) he touched you in an unwanted way - like violence or abuse - and describe how he did it in detail, and (2) that you are in fear for your safety if you are not given the order. Also, usually you have to have lived together, to get an order like this, so make sure you check the box that at least at one point, you lived with him, assuming that's the truth, even if for a short time.
After you file your initial papers, the court will often very quickly give you the TRO which is the Temporary Restraining Order, which can have a provision in it awarding you immediate custody. That is before you even have the hearing. You can use that order to get the cops to help you go pick up your child. You will still have to go to the hearing to have the order turned permanent. Also this does not take the place of filing a paternity lawsuit against him wherein you would ask for a long-term custody order. I'm just trying to help you with the quickest way to get your baby back. Does that make sense?
All those forms, even the proposed orders, you will fill out the way you want them to be, and prepare it so it is how you want it when the judge signs it.
You have to remember to express to the judge, if the issue comes up, that your main motivator for filing this was fear, not to only get the child back. But that his kidnapping the child prompted you to do research on how to get the order of protection.
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You should take them to the court. Here is the information on that: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1089.htm