Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: How do I gain sole custody of my unborn son soon to be born.


The answer to your question depends entirely on your circumstances. First, are you the mother or the father?  The first section of my answer will assume you are the mother. If you and the child's father are married or recently divorced (after the date of conception), he is the legal father and you can either agree on custody or go to family court and file a petition for sole legal decision-making (the new term for custody).  He will have an opportunity to respond and object.  He can also file a counter petition demanding that he have sole legal decision-making.  The judge will then decide based on all the evidence presented.  If you and the father have never married, then the question is whether father intends to sign the affidavit of paternity to have his name put on the birth certificate.  If he does, then he is the legal father with all parenting rights and you will need to go to court as described above or come to an agreement.  If the affidavit of paternity is not signed, the father's name will not be on the birth certificate.  The mother will then automatically have sole legal decision making.  There will be no child support unless paternity is established.  That is done in several ways.  If the parents are married, paternity is presumed.  If they are not, both parents must sign the affidavit of paternity for legal paternity to be established.  The final option is a paternity suit.

If you are the father seeking sole custody, you will first need to establish paternity by one of the methods described above.  For more information based on your specific circumstances, you will need to speak with a lawyer.  There are three programs in Arizona that you can use to get inexpensive legal advice and guidance.  One is the modest means program.  You will need to apply for the program and meet the financial qualifications.  Once you are qualified, Modest Means will send you a list of attorneys whose practice covers your area of concern.  You select a lawyer from the list and will be entitled to a one hour consultation for $75.  If you need additional help and if the lawyer agrees to take your case, the most you will be charged is $75 per hours.  the telephone number is (866) 637-5341.  Both Maricopa County and Pima County have lawyer referral programs that offer a 30 minute consult with an attorney.  Maricopa County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute consult with an experienced attorney for $40.  The telephone number is  (602) 257-4434.  Pima County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute attorney consult for $35.  The telephone number is (520) 623-4625.


  • How do I gain sole custody of my unborn son soon to be born.




  • Please select your county of residence below.



  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Maricopa County Bar
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program


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