well the honor system doesnt work, thats been proven.
and some guys simply resent paying for their children/view them as burdens.... its their loss, for we get to see every day what a gift they really are.
anyway, in custody issues, i would have an attorney. any other issues, i wouldnt. most things i handle myself at court (been doing a while now), but i would NEVER do the custody without an attorney.
maybe you will get lucky, and your ex wont have one, so will just sign what ever paper your attorney draws up.
sad as it is, a great deal many parents dont even bother climbing into their trucks and picking their kids up for the weekend. you child is old enough now, so there is no excuse. one thing to keep in mind, is NEVER deny him visitation, unless he is stone drunk or something at time of pick up. you can get in big trouble for it, and some courts will take custody from you if you deny visitation without a dam good reason... like you feared for your childs safety, etc. i've seen courts do it.
keep in mind that even criminals are entitled to see their children (sad but true), so dont deny it.
states and federal government are tired of parents not paying for their children. gone are the days of them hiding til the kid hits 18, for child support is forever. even if that child is 30 and getting married, the deadbeat still owes the parent who raised the child.
you best bet, is to learn all that you can about your states laws (every state is slightly different about the guidelines) about child support. today, it can be reported on their credit reports (arrears when they reach a certain amount), tax refund intercepts (state and federal refunds taken if arrears reach a certain amount) taking drivers license away, etc etc.
LEARN IT ALL. it is the best defense you have on behalf of your baby. stay strong and stand your ground. your baby depends upon you doing so.
keep in mind, if ever your child support caseworker (or dept) isnt on the ball, and enforcing all that they can on behalf of your child, then report it (in writing, by FAX ONLY) to your states Attorney General, Governor, and your states Regional FEDERAL Child Support Office. Keep faxing them weekly until they address your case.
LINKS; just click on your state and find the custody, visitation, child support, etc sections you need. let me know if you cant find something and i'll look for it.
CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATORS
LIST OF RESOURCES
REGIONAL FEDERAL CHILD SUPPORT OFFICES
FACTS AND REGIONAL FEDERAL CS OFFICE INFO
FIND YOUR STATE REPS
CHILD SUPPORT LIEN NETWORK
(some states work with them)
WORKING UNDER THE TABLE
(in writing, to your local and federal IRS offices)
There should be a place to get free legal help. I know where I'm from you go to the a nursing home or something like that. But you set up an appointment and the attorneys help you for free and give you legal advice. I'd google it to see where a location is near you.