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Should I try to win my custody case without a lawyer?
Hi Fluther friends! I’ve missed this place :)
I am currently in the middle of a long and drawn out custody battle, if it can even be called a battle. The father of my son has never actually shown up to court yet. The judge recently suggested I get a lawyer because apparently until I locate the father and have him served with the court papers to give him a fair chance at showing up to court, the court date will keep getting postponed. The problem is, I have no idea where to find him. He abandoned us almost a year ago and never contacted us since. He’s never paid child support or tried to see his son. I’m not sure why I have to go above and beyond to get full custody of a child who I have fully supported for the past year of his life but that’s the way the NY systems work.
Now the issue is lawyer cost. I have done my research, made my calls, and quickly discovered I will need a hefty retainer fee. It seems ridiculous to pay thousands of dollars for something like this. Is there anything I can do on my own to win this case? How can I show the judge I’m making reasonable effort to find him and serve him? If I have him served and at that point he didn’t show up, the judge would rule in my favor. Am I able to put the court dates in the newspaper as a reasonable effort to give him notice of the court date? I believe I have heard this before? I appreciate any suggestions at this point. I have taken so much time away from work for court already, I have to pay to have him served when I do find him, so I would like to avoid lawyer fees if at all possible.