I had a child with a woman out of wedlock and never was legitimized as the father. Now the child has been taken out the the mothers home by dfacs due to drugs and placed with an uncle on the mothers side that lives out of state. The uncle has come to me stating that he would like me to obtain custody of the child before the mother or step-father comes back into the picture. How do I go about getting legitimized as the father and obtaining custody of the child without involving any lawyers that I can not afford?
3 Answers from Attorneys
Pro se legitimizations rarely go well. Ones where the state has intervened will go very badly without counsel, as you will be taking on not just the mother but the state. If your appendix burst would you remove it yourself to save money? Of course not. So why would you ruin your chance to get custody by not hiring someone who knows how to do it. Even if you have to borrow from friends and family, charge your fees on Mastercard, or mow every neighbors yard for extra cash, your child should matter enough to do it right. Get a lawyer.
You can always file a petition to legitimate on your own. Hopefully you will do it right. If you have not been contacted by DFACS, you may want to find out who the caseworker is and contact him/her and let them know you are interested in filing to legitimate and obtaining custody. Hopefully someone cares enough for this child to step up to the plate and take responsibility, even if they have to pay an attorney to get it right.
I understand you cannot afford an attorney. If you cannot qualify for a pro se one, the next option would be to handle the matter yourself. I see you have a DeKalb County address. If the mother also lives in DeKalb County, you would file your legitimation action there. DeKalb Superior Court has the Family Law Information Center for pro se litigants.
I've provided a link to the court's page regarding this information if you decide to handle the matter on your own. However, as noted by the previous answers, it is usually better to hire an attorney for these matters.
DEKALB COUNTY FAMILY LAW INFORMATION CENTER
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