Legal Questions? / Legal Answers!
Lets Be Right Up Front About The Cost.
"Remember you can file for a waiver of fees if you cannot afford to pay the filing fees. Keep in mind that the Judge may or may not accept your request. Once the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Order has been signed by a Judge, it cannot be changed without a court order." NOTE: Please keep in mind prices could increase.
1. Paperwork Packet: - $5.00
2. Copies: - $3.00
3. Filing Fee: - $120.00
4. Serving paperwork: - -$5.00
Total: $ 133.00
5. Mediation fee: - $80.00 each. - If Needed.
Approx. Total Cost: $213.00
Now, just so we are clear. For approx: $213.00 you will get a mediation date to discuss your Parental Rights and Responsibilities. To receive regular visitation, to gain access to your child's medical records and School Records, and to be told where and when the other parent wishes to relocate. You also might be entitled to claim your children during specific years, on your income taxes, if your child support is being paid. I believe $213.00 is not a bad investment!
LETS GET TO IT!
All the forms for filing a Parental Rights and Responsibility Order can be found at Pinetree Legal's website ( Here Under Court Forms ) except one.
You can go to the PTL website and actually fill in most of the forms online to print out. Use Hot Docs to do this.
How To Fill Out The Forms You Need:
1. FM-002 - Confidential Family Matter Summary Sheet - This sheet asks for basic information, and is pretty easy to fill out. "The only question I could see that might throw you is the question : Original Proceeding? - Which means first time any paperwork has ever been filed. This is probably the one you want to check. When you receive a docket number, it should be written on every form you file with the court. Or, Post Judgement, which means that if there has been paperwork filed before, you will need that docket number to file your case. Example: A Motion to Modify would be a Post Judgement case."
2. CV/CR/FM/PC-200 Social Security Number Disclosure Form - This form lists your Social Security Number and your child(ren's) Social Security Numbers. "This will be a District Court Case not a Superior Court Case and if no previous paperwork exists, there is no docket number. Also, If you do not know the Social Security Numbers of your children that is OK. Just put down unknown."
3. CV-006 Complaint for Determination of Paternity, Parental Rights and Responsibilities, Child Support. ( after you have re-typed my sample Parental Rights Agreement to figure out what works best for both parents, you can include it with this form.)
A. There is no Docket Number until you file this. Then you will use that Docket Number on all paperwork that gets filed.
B.. Plaintiff: You
C. Defendant: The Other Parent
D. District Court
E. Location: Cumberland County
1. List each child's name, date of birth, and where the child now lives.
2. Plaintiff - List your town, county and state
3. Defendant - Other parent's address
4a. List where the children have lived for the past 5 years.
4b This question asks you if there is any other court action filed in another State, for the child. If the answer is yes, you check the "other" box, and this gets more complicated. If there is no other court action and if there is no Protection From Abuse filed against you or the other parent or a Protective Custody Order, you can skip this section. If you cannot skip this section, please ask an Attorney what to do. see: Ideas, Advice P.T.L. & V.L.P
"I was hoping to keep this simple but if there is a P.F.A. ( Protection From Abuse ) Order issued against either parent, and it was issued on behalf of the child(ren), it usually states that the parent cannot have contact with the person who obtained that order, for a period of two years. If that order is against you, once the order has expired, you can file the Parental Rights and Responsibility paperwork. If the Protection From Abuse Order is for the other parent only, and not on behalf of the children, you can still file for your Parental Rights and Responsibility and still receive visitation. You will just have to make arrangements for the pick up and drop off of your children. for the remainder of the Order" ( I would add that the V.L.P. probably can answer any questions you may have in reference to a P.F.A. and your Parental Rights to visitation and the information is free. ) see: "Ideas, Advice P.T.L. & V.L.P"
Note: "If the person who has the P.F.A. Order would like that Order dismissed, they can ask the court to do so." see: " Filing A Protection From Abuse Order"
4c. Does anyone else have physical custody of your children? If not, skip this section.
5. Check all boxes that apply.
a. Have you or the other parent collected benefits for the children from the State? If so, check off "Public assistance has been received for the children"
b. You need to send a copy of this Order to the D.H.H.S. Support Enforcement Department address listed on this form.
c. If there is a child support order in effect, check this box. If you have a copy of the order attach it to this document. If not, I believe D.H.H.S. will have a copy they can send you.
d. If your the (Plaintiff) parent without physical custody, who pays child support and your the one filing this order, if you want your child support reviewed, you would check this box. If your the (Plaintiff) parent with physical custody of the children, and this isn't about changing or enforcing a child support order, leave this blank.
"No matter what you check off as far as the child support issues D.H.H.S. will be there in the courtroom when you both go to your hearing. That is the reason you send them a copy."
Plaintiff Requests That The Court:
"If there is a child support order in effect, the first two boxes ( a & b ) would not apply."
c. Determine Parental Rights and Responsibilities. "This is the box you check."
d. D.H.H.S. has already done this if a child support order is in effect.
e. "The last two boxes I am not even going to bother with. Needless to say, if you check either one, you must be pretty angry."
Attorney for Plaintiff: Leave blank if your doing this yourself.
Now you date it, sign it, ( But Not Yet! ) and write down your address and phone number
"Before you can file this form with the court, it has to be signed by a Notary Public. You also must sign this and date it in the presence of the Notary. Bring along a picture ID to use as verification of your identity. You can usually find a free Notary at the Bank or Credit Union you use. If you have no accounts, you can still use the Bank's Notary, but they may charge you a small fee."
4. CV-036 - ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPT OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT OR POST-JUDGMENT MOTION.
One original copy of this form, needs to be filed with your original paperwork, regardless of how Service was completed.
"If registered mail was used, you sent the other parent a copy of this form and they are suppose to send it back to prove they were served. Most don't do that.
Just file the signed green card with this form and fill out the information below."
a. District Court
b. Location: Cumberland
c. Docket Number assigned yet? N/Y
d. Plaintiff: You
e. Defendant: Other Parent.
"Everything below the word "Notice" just leave blank.
The signed green card proves the other parent received the paperwork."
5. CV-038 - FAMILY MATTER SUMMONS AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
This form is the one not listed on the PTL website. Why?
This form has a State Seal pressed into it. It tells the Defendant of the action being brought against them and puts a "Preliminary Injunction" in effect which prohibits restrain of personal liberty of the other party (you) or the children. Contempt of court charges are threatened if this Official Court Order is not followed.
Docket # ______________
Defendant: Other Parent
a. You date it
b. Circle (Plaintiff)
c. Print you name and address / (you can leave the phone number blank if you need to)
6. FM-050- CHILD SUPPORT AFFIDAVIT
Docket # ______________
Defendant: Other Parent
Date of Birth: Yours
Name and address of your present employer
1. GROSS INCOME:
A. Use your taxes from last year to answer this.
B. Loaded Question. "Your answer? No more than last year!"
2.OTHER GROSS INCOME
Expected this year. "The key word here is Expected. I'll never forget my Lobsterman son who put down a large amount and "Expected" more than he got that year in sales. That Expected amount became the basis of the amount of child support he was ordered to pay. If you get a certain amount a month due to Workman's Comp or Unemployment, or from any of the places they list, times the amount you recieve by 52 weeks and that is the amount you "Expect this year."
3. EMPLOYMENT FRINGE BENEFITS
Again, you "Expect to recieve."
4.TOTAL GROSS INCOME:
Add 1b, 2, and 3. " Notice you do not add 1A. which asked "how much did you make last year? "Instead, they add the EXPECTED Gross Income you put down."
5. YEARLY SUPPORT YOU PAY FOR OTHER CHILDREN:
6. WEEKLY HEALTH INSURANCE:
a. Put down what your employer takes out of your check if you have a job, and have insurance.
b. If you pay for insurance for other child(ren), put down that information.
7. WEEKLY CHILD CARE COSTS:
"If this apply's write down the amount."
8. WEEKLY EXTRAORDINARY MEDICAL EXPENSIVES:
"If your child has medical issues, put down the cost and reason for the expense."
9. OTHER CHILDREN IN YOUR HOME:
Other children you are legally responsible for.
10. OTHER FACTS:
"If there are circumstances in your situation that affects your Child Support, perhaps waiting for a decision from Social Security or Unemployment, list that here."
11. ASSETS AND DEBTS:
"If you have real estate, stocks and bonds, or recreational vehicles, I hope you have an Attorney."
"This is pretty self explanatory. If your like me, a person just trying to make it, most of it probably won't even apply
You don't sign this form yet! It is one of the forms that needs a Notary signature.
THERE. YOUR DONE!
" It will be interesting to see how this works out for you. About six months after my ex and I filed our agreement, neither one of us could remember what the visitation schedule was. Know why? Because it didn't matter anymore. Neither one of us had "control" over it. It forced us to communicate and visitation ended up being "could you take / keep him for today?" Our lives were now easy to schedule, knowing we each would be a free "sitter" for the other parent, when needed."
If you have any questions I failed to answer, the V.L.P. answers them for free and will also look at your paperwork before you file it, for Free. see: "Ideas, Advice P.T.L. & V.L.P."
Go Back To The Middle Of This Page To "So How Does This Work" and follow the steps to serve and file your action.
"If there is any chance you both can come to an agreement before anyone files the Parental Rights Order, that is the best course to take. I have helped a couple of people do this. The years had gone by and the resentment wasn't there anymore. They agreed to do what was best for the children. That is why the Shared Parental Agreement I wrote worked. This also includes all the "unknown" situations your child may find themselves in as they grow up. From school issues to the law, your child's problems also become both of your responsibilities. 50/50! When the other parent understands that they will now have some help with the bad things that may happen, they come around. At least my friends did. So why did they even bother to file the Order if they got along so well? The parent who did not have physical custody could not get a report card mailed to them, couldn't call the Doctor and get any information. With a copy of the Order given to both the Dr. and the school, they were given information on medical history and sent all school related activities and progress reports. If you can work out the agreement with the other parent before filing, you will breeze through the process, save some money and skip any Guardian at Litem appointments, You'll also be showing the Judge that you are two parents who are doing what is best for your children!"
All you need to file with your paperwork is the "Shared Custody Agreement" you both agreed on and the FM-054 - "Certificate In Lieu Of Case Management" form." Remember, Child Support cannot be an issue. If there is an order already in effect, this should go smoothly.
"You may have to "fight" against the other parent. I have seen many a parent feel great reluctant to give up that control they got used to having. because they just realized that the control now may not be in their hands. Here is the good news. If there is really no good reason to dispute what you are requesting, there should be no reason your requests should be denied. The Courts understand the importance of both parents roles in theirs child's lives. You may have to change a few things from your original request, but I am very hopeful most everything you ask for, as far as visitation, will be granted."
My Final Thought...
"I am not a Lawyer! Because of that, I feel
I really need to push this "negotiate"
warning I was trying so elegantly to get
across. Remember, I fought many custody battles
against my last ex. Allegations from both
of us, flew like the wind. Every one of them
were investigated and the months, turned
into more than a year and a half. We were
in and out of courtrooms almost every month.
I lost custody of my son twice, for 28 days,
due to false allegations written on two Protection
From Abuse charges. My point? I had no idea what it was doing to my son
and I believe she didn't either. Allegations, real or not, are really not
the issue here unless it deals directly with
your children's safety. None of us are perfect
and we both were lucky the Guardian Ad Litem
put up with us, for as long as he did. I
would really advise you both to save yourselves
allot of pain and agony and do the right
thing. Take that agreement, discuss what
you can both accept as far as terms, and
file the "Certificate In Lieu Of Mediation".
You may not get all you are asking for, but
I believe you will end up with more then
what you had! If you think my words might
sway the other parent, then by all means
share this link with them. Please keep this
simple...... for your children's sake.