In A Mother's Corner

Tips for Moms

The Custody Project, sharing the following tips, hopes they may be beneficial and help save lives. However, TCP gives no warranty, guarantee, or promise as to their authenticity, verifiability, accuracy, effectiveness, wisdom, or truth, is not responsible for their content, and The Custody Project does not endorse, have any responsibility for, or exercise control over these tips, organizations’ and agencies’ views, services, and information. Tips are submitted by mothers and updated from time to time, and we have every reason to believe these are worthy of your consideration. If you have a tip to share, please contact us.

In California, the Court Reporters Board (CRB) may provide transcripts free of charge for those who qualify. Your state's CRB might too! (See Support Links for further information).

Monica, California
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If you cannot stretch your funds further to provide for your family, check with LiHeap, Section 8 and its Local PHA, Public Housing, SNAP/Food Stamps, WIC, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Tribal TANF, State and Federal free and low-cost medical, dental, and childcare Plans, and other agencies.

Lynn, Florida
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"Yes" and "No" open and close doors and are allies in custody and visitation matters. Each works simply. Trust them. With your permission, both can work wonderfully, well, and quietly for you and your children.

Tracey, Alabama
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If your children are kidnapped, as were my daughters, fill out The Hague Convention Application available through the U.S. Department of State, Office of Children's Issues (888.407.4747). In my case, an attorney was provided to me free of charge and my children were returned to me. (See Testimonials and the U.S. Department of State on our Support Links for further information).

Melissa, California
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Across the country, some courthouses offer free pro per clinics; some attorneys offer free consultations in their offices, at libraries (Lawyers in the Library Programs], and/or at court offices and shelters. Some attorneys will take cases pro bono or at reduced rates, especially through The Battered Women's Alternative, domestic violence agencies, shelters, and when you ask. Check your region/state for helpful organizations, nonprofits, attorneys, womens' law centers; talk with law librarians, state bar associations, and paralegals. Check community colleges, colleges, university law libraries, and law departments as law professors, law students, and law librarians may help with portions of cases, legal cites, and pertinent case law. If your finances are stretched, occasionally, churches will help; sometimes private or individual sources will assist.

Aside from the timeliness of filing dates, for those writing legal briefs the correct legal points and case law must be cited and argued. Consult with attorneys, law professors, paralegals, and law librarians. Sample briefs (with names of the parties deleted), boiler plates, legal forms, legal reference books, and law books referencing the rules of court will be useful and keep you timely. For papers and forms, also check with the legal clerks at the courthouse. For sample superior, appellate, and Supreme Court briefs, ask attorneys or other mothers, with the request that the names of the parties be deleted. Sometimes, extra copies of unneeded briefs are disposed of at copy shops, courthouses, and law offices.

Some hearings are simple and you can save money by representing yourself. However, if at all possible, arrange to have an attorney represent you for custody hearings (and others of significant import). If you don't have enough money, see if you can work out a financial arrangement of payments over time so that an attorney can represent you for the custody hearings. Offer to do as much as you can, such as organizing your facts and exhibits, and doing your own copying and printing to help reduce costs. If any, ask that interest be forgiven. Later, if you have sufficient money, lump sums can reduce and zero out your bill in lieu of continued payments over time, as most people prefer some cash now to extended payments. Court transcripts can be half-price when requested prior to hearings and sometimes the Certified Shorthand Reporters Board can help you obtain them at no cost. Lastly, certain court expenses occur only if you agree to them: research the law so that you know what legal expenses you can refuse. (In some areas, stating that you cannot afford a special master precludes a judge from appointing one).

Misuse usually occurs when isolated. For those faced with the abuse and/or molest of their children, you may be able to help your offspring by communicating effectively. Consider contacting your child's local hospitals, physician(s), nurses, teachers, principal, caregivers, coaches, therapist, church(es), police for both the mother's and father's jurisdictions, as well as other professionals, and your child's friends and neighbors. Bring your visitation/custody court order(s) with you, explain the danger your children are (or child is) in and how each person can help, should your child or children disclose to him/her. Abuse decreases when people communicate effectively, when there are a lot of eyes watching children, and when a plan of action is in place.

Whether as mothers who have lost custody simply for asking to relocate, or for trying to protect their children from abuse, molest, and harm, and now, are reduced to supervised visitation, limited contact, and other severe and/or punishing court orders and developments, or for those experiencing legal punishments even as the custodial parents, know that you are not alone (See, Mothers on Trial by Phyllis Chesler). Nowadays, more people recognize retaliatory pattern and practice and will assist you in your quest to protect your children and give them better lives. For the difficulties you are going through, these are with you and your children: hold onto your faith, pray, and rely upon your spiritual strength.

Donna, California
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Genuflection was written by a mom who successfully resisted eleven legal attempts by her ex, who attempted to take custody from her and failed every time. It is dedicated to mothers everywhere and we hope it is an inspiration to you.

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