Custody??? Do you have to go through court to get full custody as a single mother?

Sarah - posted on 02/20/2010 ( 350 moms have responded )

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My son is 4 years old. I take care of him without any financial help from the father. We have never been to court. He signed the birth certificate at birth and my son has his last name. My son has always lived with me. Does his dad have any rights to him, say if he were to take him and not give him back? Or is there something that I have to do through court to get full custody?

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Paula - posted on 01/17/2013

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Please i need advice asap......................................... as legal aid in family court stops in three months here, if not already & my seperated partners parents have money!

Paula - posted on 01/17/2013

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I have 3 children aged 12, 11 & 8, i got into drugs with my now seperated partner in 2005/2006, i took the blame for him in court & he then told social services being with me was a risk, i have been clean now since 2008 & see my children twice a fortnight but he has lied all these years & to save my children from care, i let him have his way, i have been trying to sort things with him for a year or two but getting no progress, sometimes although only 12 miles away i only see them once a month, down to him, my daughter hates me @ the moment as i can't talk to her without my ex in laws poising me against her, please help me before its to late, im in England, Norfolk! Without damaging my children by telling them the truth, i never walked out on them & i want them back, what do i do????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? I want it to go to court as to have my say as i have had to hold back for several years but i dont want to hurt my children, my husband supplied my drug habit finacially & when i got clean the money stopped, as my friend said he only paid me to keep me intoxicated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Terry - posted on 01/15/2013

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It all depends on the state. In Texas it doesn't matter if you are married or not, the father has equal rights to the child and can take off with the child and there is nothing the police can do. Get custody papers right away. I had a daughter that had a child out of wedlock and she had to get custody papers drawn up. The father kept threatening to take the child away.

Sonia - posted on 01/13/2013

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Yes, protect yourself and your child. Solve the problem now and get it legalize so there isn't any problem for the future. Don't exclude the father but set the legal rights for yourself and his rights as to what he can or can't do when the child get older. If he doesn't want to help raise your child finacially or emotionally then you needs to take total control and establish the legal ramifacation of his rights as a father for the future. It's very important for all children to know and have contact with the their parents but legally you needs to protect yourself. Children needs a stable environment but do it with their well fair in minds. Good futures for you both

Andrea - posted on 01/11/2013

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You have to go to court, my brother in law went through the same thing. They came to a mutual agreement on custody, no court. There was a disagreement between the two, he kept him and when the police showed up cause she called, they said unless she has a court statement saying that she has full custody or it was a day she was supposed to get the child back they can't do anything about it.....GO TO COURT!!

Stacey - posted on 01/09/2013

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In your case they wouldn't likely get custody. They could file for visitation or custody. Unless a father signs away his rights he has some rights. For example my children's father hasn't bothered to be a father to them in 6 years. I had full physical custody and we had joint legal custody. I amended the custody so I had both full physical and legal custody. It was awarded however if there were an event where a medical decision of life or death were involved he could step in and have a say so. For example say one of our children were on life support and he felt he or she should be taken off he could take it to court. Other than that he has zero rights to them.

Stacey - posted on 01/09/2013

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Until you go to court and get custody he could take your child and not return him and it would be legal because there isn't any legal custody given to either of you in court. You need to go to the court and file for custody. It should be free to do so. You will likely be sent to a mediator before going to court to see if you can come to an agreement without having to see a judge.

Kendra - posted on 01/08/2013

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Neither one of the fahters are on the birth certificate. but i will deft check it out.

Cecilia - posted on 01/08/2013

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Kendra, it depends on the state. No one here is a lawyer so none of us could answer you completely right. Some states if he is named on the birth certificate, he can. Some if he signed it , he can. Some simply require both parties to agree he is the father. Some states require custody orders for any one parent to take the child away. You might want to head down to the family court in your area and ask them, or look in your phone book for lawyers who deal with family court.

Kendra - posted on 01/08/2013

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Sorry I don't have an answer but I do have a ? hoping someone can answer I have 3 kids my first 2 have the same dad and my youngest have a differnt dad. My 2 older kids their dad only seen my son but doesn't want anything do with them I took him for a dna test and of course it came back as being his kids. Well he refusesd to have anything to do with them. And my youngest i found out her dad was still married and I dumped him before I knew I was pregant so I told him about it and he is denying her. So im wondering since they haven't done anything for my kids if they were to show up out of no where and want something to do with my kids could they take them from me? or get custody, My kids have everything they need and want they don't go without anything and I take them to the doctors I do it alone. I was told if they wanted to see my kids they could take them anytime they wanted. Is this true thanks

Kendra - posted on 01/08/2013

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Sorry I don't have an answer but I do have a ? hoping someone can answer I have 3 kids my first 2 have the same dad and my youngest have a differnt dad. My 2 older kids their dad only seen my son but doesn't want anything do with them I took him for a dna test and of course it came back as being his kids. Well he refusesd to have anything to do with them. And my youngest i found out her dad was still married and I dumped him before I knew I was pregant so I told him about it and he is denying her. So im wondering since they haven't done anything for my kids if they were to show up out of no where and want something to do with my kids could they take them from me? or get custody, My kids have everything they need and want they don't go without anything and I take them to the doctors I do it alone. I was told if they wanted to see my kids they could take them anytime they wanted. Is this true thanks

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2013

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The judge must award full custody, get it done. I thought the same thing you did and then went through a nightmare when my son wasn't returned to me. File now! Your state will have a program to help with the court costs. Good luck sweetie

Cristina - posted on 01/03/2013

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Depends on what his dad wants to do. If he wants custody, he most likely will get it until you prove otherwise. If there is no Court Order on file, then you have him 100% unless the father takes you back to Court. Call the Friend of the Court and they will be able to advise you.

Jan - posted on 01/02/2013

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it does depend on the state you live in. i live in michigan and i have a friend who had that situation and when the father took him for a visit to ohio and refused to bring him back, she had to file for an emergency court date to get a court order saying she was the custodial parent before the police would even assist her in getting their son back. and her brother took his son for a visit from his mother and didn't take him back and instead filed a court case in michigan (mother lived in illinois) and the court gave him custody bc they didn't have an existing order. if he wasn't on the birth certificate, he wouldn't have the right to do that, but since he is on the birth certificate, that changes things. Good Luck!! I am also a single mother and i feel for u. Hope everything goes good for your son and u.

Faye - posted on 12/30/2012

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Oh yes, take him to court and file a child support order and the Court will establish you as custodial parent, and allow him visitation. Make sure that all payments are deducted from his payroll and direct deposited into your bank account. It is a headache to wait on payments to be handed, it is full of too much unnecessary psychological drama.

Cia - posted on 12/30/2012

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ah the rub...some one's value of Loving the child might not meet the conventional criteria of "Loving their child."

Aeryn - posted on 12/30/2012

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Yes he does because of the simple fact he signed the birth certificate. My case if very similar except for my son is 3 and the birth certificate was not signed but he does have his fathers last name. His father has only met and seen him twice and it was within the same week and my son was 6 months old. You need to go to court and petition for legal custody. If you are granted joint, have a schedule set up (which they will do but just get the papers as proof). That way, if he tries not to give him back you can bring your papers to the police station showing he is not supposed to have him. Best of luck. I'll be going through this in the next 6 months. I've been getting free consultations from lawyers for advice.

J M - posted on 12/28/2012

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Really one may think would be the right way. Seek first from Family Courts advice/ Legal aid, then no room for doubts or mistakes. Most would agree to say ,yes anyone does.

However in the long run, be as willing as possible for the father to have access to his son, long as its not a abusive relationship, a child should have their rights respected despite of a breakdown in a relationship. (Unless the disagreements interfere with the Child's everyday wellbeing etc..


If both parties can agree to disagree of their own personal shortcomings and or differences about the nuts and bolts of their breakdown fine, but if they both equally Love their Child the same, and can agree for their child sake then it is kinder than not, for a arrangement for the child sake, as heard of Children not liking either parents because of their inability to sort stuff out.

Children can become bitter, don't need that, thus the very thing parents feel they are fighting about, they can lose far more.... their children's respect.

Have you had Counseling for any hope of Relationship been restored?

Alexis - posted on 12/28/2012

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yes, dad can just come take him if he wants. you either need to get him to sign over his rights; this doesnt require a lawyer, and he will not pay child suport. or you can take him to court, this is very expincive if he fights though, then he will be required to pay child suport plus back child suport for the last 4 year but they may give him visitation if he requests it.

Nancy - posted on 12/26/2012

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Its called CYA or cover your ass.It may be fairly easy but you never know.Go for sole custody.If he wants to fight,he'll fight.Find out what the laws are for your state.You should be able to look up the majority of stuff online.My daughter and I have found a lot of info.

Heather - posted on 12/26/2012

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If you were never married- signing the birth certificate does not establish his parental rights in the eyes of the law. It will only establish him as the father for the purpose of child support- which is completely seperate from custody. Only a judge can establish paternity unless you were married. "Custody" always lies with the unwed mother in 49 states... until he asks the court to acknowledge him... then it will be up to the judge to allocate rights.tI cannoot stress enough that being unwed does NOT give a mother an advantage in custody actions! Once it goes to court, there is a presumption that both parents are equally fit. If you raise any issues about abuse, neglect, domestic violence then you run a very real risk of losing custody because of "friendly parent provisions". Look these up on the internet and talk to an attorney who knows how these work against mothers who are victims. Family court is dangerous for mothers and children unless you are prepared to sit on the stand and say he is a great person and you dont mind sharing custody with him.
http://coparentingwithsociopath.blogspot...

Star - posted on 12/26/2012

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since he signed the birth certificate he does have legal rights to your boy but you can go through court to have him sign rights to you and you can get full custody of your son but there will be issues with that like visitation rights and the fact of paying money towards you and your son I forgot what that's called

Michele - posted on 12/25/2012

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if his name is on the birth certificate your stuck. That is the biggest mistake I ever made in my life... My mother warned me, but I didn't get it. If i hadn't had him sign that, I wouldn't be suffering like i have for 10 years. The man lives to punish me. He is obsessed with it. He is psychotic. He hates me so much, .. his only goal is to "control". He thinks nothing of my children.. he tortures them, subjects them to emotional harm, and endangers their safety and doesn't care. They are just pawns and tools to him. they are weapons with which to torture me. May god in heaven protect my children while we are at the mercy of this inadequate court that doesn't provide protection and then claims "immunity": when your loved ones get murdered by the perpetrator you've been trying to gain protection from for years. When is enough enough? I am so insulted and angry.. I need to get this crap out of my head... I am so mad.. I have been tortured for years and I am tired of it... I have had enough.. I want justice. I deserve consideration not abuse... how dare they treat us the way they do.... hell no...

Michele - posted on 12/25/2012

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our family court system is abusive and has been torturing me for 7 months. I am furious.. They ignore the law, and make insane rulings. They ignore acts of violence, ignore your requests and cater to the violent dad. They treat me like I am a liar and am guilty until proven innocent, and treat him as if he is innocent until proven guilty. He is a pathological liar, he is abusive and violent, he has never taken an interest in his children, and only seeks to try and take custody of them because he is a selfish loser without a job and he doesn't want to work and he wants welfare and food stamps and to hit me up for child support.. He is such an ass. He filed fraudulent charges, and was denied which substantiates his lies. Ohhhh there WILL be accountability. He just doesn't realize it yet. He thinks he's home free... He is a nasty freak who abuses me constantly and the court irresponsibly ignores my requests for orders to protect my children. I will not be subjected or allow them to subject any further victimization upon me or my children. I am filing complaints against every injustice. and i'm not going back. I'm going to contact the media, and every advocacy group I can think of to expose the corrupt and abusive courts. We need to start a coalition to demand that the courts are professionally trained in the dynamics of domestic violence and that our rights are being denied. These judges are out of bounds when they punish us with their intimidation and bullying rulings. They oppress and punish women and this is a federal violation. Its' time to demand justice. they are our servants yet they treat us like second rate citizens. I'm not going to let some misogynist tyrant subject me to this crazy bullshit. the courts are all corrupt. they have developed a very selfish determination to generate revenue. one way is to take children away and put them into foster care or adoption. but not without first dragging everyone throug a long and costly process... it is absolute abuse of the citizens. don't subject yourself to the tyranny and runaway and unchecked victimization that is our broken patriarchal gender biased, prejudiced, inadequate, misogynistic piece of shit court system.

Cecilia - posted on 12/25/2012

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To answer your basic question, your child's father has legal rights to them and can take them and leave and you can't do much about it ( since you said you never went to court- thus you have no custody order)

I'm going through the same thing of sorts. I've known my children's father has rights but since i lived in another state i never worried. Since i'm moving back to his area, i will go pull his custodial rights ( which is different than paternal rights) In NY, i can take custodial rights and still receive child support.

The way i'm going about doing this is by filing abandonment charges. In NY this means he has had no contact with them for 6 months. He has gone 2 years without phone contact and 12 years without seeing them. All i have to do is to go to family court ask for the paper work fill it out and they will contact him. If he agrees to the charge, i win and he can't take them from me.

Mind you full custody is a different story all together, you have to prove the parent unfit to care for the child in any form. It is also much harder to do if you are not married. On top of proving they are unfit you have to prove that you are fully fit to care for the child with no support (you know $$$) The court does not like to make a child grow up with only one parent. It's hard to do. It sucks but that is how it is.

Deborah - posted on 12/22/2012

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And they know how to take ALL OF YOUR MONEY WITHOUT ACCOMPLISHING ANYTHING, and make you think they did a good job... believe me, experience is a good teacher. If you all really want to know what is going on in courts and with CPS/SS/FAMILY COURT around the world, find me on fb and join us in our quest to have our children who are victims of child trafficking by CPS to foster care, forced adoption and our abusers, and your eyes will be opened to the true facts of going to court for custody of your children... IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA if you can avoid it. work with the father, have an honest and caring agreement that is in the best interest of the children, DO NOT GO TO COURT unless you don't mind being broke and confused...good luck to you all, hope you do not need us, ever... We are MOTHERS WHO WANT OUR CHILDREN BACK, and we have members, good loving mothers, worldwide... Just check out the stories of Halle Berry, Kelly Rutherford and Usher, if you want to see the truth about family court...

Crystal - posted on 12/22/2012

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you should call your attorney general to get info on that , they would be able to tell you what you need , and need to do

Maria - posted on 12/19/2012

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One way to deal with these deadbeats is to expose them by telling the truth. Here are some links ‏to support groups that want to hear stories from #singlemoms! DM us and share your story! Shine on a light on these rats!

@AndThenThereWr2
https://www.facebook.com/pages/And-Then-There-Were-Two/494282440593852?fref=ts

@ChildSupportTip

Amber - posted on 12/18/2012

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Moms-
I am a full time mom to my 15 month old son. His father has met him 1 time for approximately 2 hrs. He never sees him and doesnt pay a single dime in child support. He has my number, address and several other ways of contacting me & has no interest in asking about his son. I myself constantly update him on doctors appointments and such, just to make sure that he cant say I never tried to communicate openly with him about Jae. However, now the issue has risen that he 'believes' Jaedyn is not his child (which he knows is not true, he is a spinning image of his father) but its only bcuz now I have started asking for help that this is an issue.

I would like to just like to take measures that ensure he will not ever be legally able to just disappear with our son (even though he NEVER sees him) and eventually I would like to take him to court just to sign his rights over. He has told me many time that he has no time, or money for the baby. I just see it better, that he has nothing to do with him. However, for now I'd like to cover the legal basis and protect my son.

How do I got about filing for full custody of him??

Jacqueline - posted on 12/17/2012

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Well Good luck to him....lol. A "Dad" sees his children more than 10 times a year. Can you create a log of visitation? When he saw the children and when he was supposed to see the children.....excuses from him as to why no visitation occurred those weekends....what occurred during visitation (blackouts, drinking, etc.) All of this is admissable in court and is taken very seriously. Just because he was there once doesn't mean he is a "DAD". This is also proof that you have the children a majority of the time and is just cause for child support. You don't need an attorney, even if he has one. The court realizes that the rare occassion the boys get to see their dad, seeing him plastered "drunk" is not in their best interest. If he is simply choosing not to participate in their lives but wants joint custody to keep from paying child support, the court will see thru that too.
Chin up and keep up the good work. He won the first battle....You will win the war!!!!

Hjanus - posted on 12/16/2012

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My kids father has never paid me a dime we have joint custody me as primary and him having reasonable visitations agreed by both of us. I dont let him see the boys very much cause he drinks a lot and blacks out and im scared something is going to happen to my kids . hes now talking about taking me to court for joint with both of us having primary what should i do??? they may have been to there dads about 50 times in the last 5 years

Augusta - posted on 12/15/2012

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Yes, if seriously and definately trying to keep full custody of your child, and ready to go through hell with lawyers and judges, it would definately take legal actions and all. If there is good cause and or reason that your child's father is not considered a safe or fit parent, there is possibility you could gain full custody. Now taking your child away and not having his father see him from now until the child is 18yrs old, not to sure about that. Father may possibly have weekend rights, or couple days during week or even holiday breaks etc., but to take a child completely away from his father until legally adult, may not be ideal for child's sake and maybe even fathers sake. But, I do highly and always suggest to try and settle things outside of courtrooms as much as possible prior to making that "LEGAL" commitment. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you and your family.

Deborah - posted on 12/14/2012

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I would say you have the most custody you are ever going to get. If you go to court, you will LOSE what you have by nature... Please, stay away from CPS AND FAMILY COURT if you want to keep your child... good luck, and stay safe... If you want to know more, google MOTHERS WHO WANT OUR CHILDREN BACK, and see why i say what i say... stay 'under the radar" keep a low profile, and keep yourself out of court unless you want to be bankrupted by corrupt court and lose most of your rights to your child/ren... GOOD LUCK and take care...

Jaala - posted on 12/11/2012

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Every state has different rules, but I would definitely go to court to request full custody. I'm sure they would petition for the father to sign over his rights. Something along those lines. Some states don't recognize a parent taking their child without consent as kidnapping. Custody is tricky sometimes. So I would suggest you really getting a clearer understanding from the courts in your state. That way you will be truly aware of your rights, the fathers, and what trials you'd be up against in hypothetical situations. I suppose consulting with a lawyer would be good. However, I personally would petition the court for full custodial rights.

Robin - posted on 12/10/2012

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I think it probably depends on the laws where you live, however, if he took off with him it sure would take time to prove you were the constant in his life. If he had never signed that birth certificate, there would be no doubt. I think I would definitely seek a family lawyers advice.

Casey - posted on 12/09/2012

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TAKE HIM TO COURT IF HE IS NOT HELPING YOU WITH HIM. GO FAIL FOR CHILD SUPPORT AND GO TO THE COURT A FAIL FOR CUSTODY BECAUSE IF HE TAKES OFF WITH HIM YOU CAN DO NUIN ABOUT IT

Lost - posted on 12/07/2012

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hi im not sure what state you live in but im in court now for custody of my children and its all court orders in my court case. if i were you i would go to court and file a notice of motion to get sole custody and guardianship of him with the father under visiting rights. thats your best bet. if the father agrees to that then its easy. if not it could take some time because courts tend to be very backed up .

Valerie - posted on 12/07/2012

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You did not mention marriage (or maybe I missed it) so I will presume the two of you aren't/weren't married when he was conceived. I found out the hard way that if the parents are not married, neither has custody. My daughter used to visit her dad on the weekends. One weekend I went to pick her up and he flat out refused to let her come, even though she lived with me.I went straight to the police and was told that without a custody agreement, there was nothing that they could do to help me. That she is just as much his and she is mine (even though she lived with me, went to school in my district, etc) and he can "keep" her as long as he wants to. It was a flipping nightmare. I wish I had listened when people told me to get custody of her. After that I hired a lawyer, but she ended up living with him for a few years (I finally caved in and consented).

Jeralyn - posted on 12/06/2012

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It would depend on the state that you live in and the information that you have available to you. In Michigan, if you are not married, the mother has full sole custody of the child unless there is court action giving the father parental rights. If the father takes the child and does not bring him back you can charge him and anyone associated with not bringing him back with kidnapping, HOWEVER, and this is IMPORTANT.. In Michigan, to enforce this, you have to have a copy of what the Attorney General has stated will happen if a father, with no rights granted through a court, if he should not bring the child back to the mother. If you do not have this piece of paper then they will not help you and tell you that it is a civil matter and to go to court. If you show them this letter and they still do nothing, that department can be sued for not following the law. I only know of this because I went through this.. Also remember, this only applies to children whose parents were not married. If the parents were married, this does not come into play at all.

Mandy - posted on 12/06/2012

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You people are mixing apples and oranges. If there was no legal marriage there are no custody rights in many states. I am in Ohio. My girls father's attorney told him such and guess who has been sweet as pie since then. He was told to go to court to protect himself as I can take off with the girls anytime I want to. He can't afford the attorney for a fight so things have been much better. Do not believe everything you read on a forum. Find out about your own state laws!

Denise - posted on 12/05/2012

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yes you do have to go to court to get full custody of him . Even if the dad isnt helping you at all sadly i did all of the same things with my daughter shes 12 now and he didnt visit her unless told to now he wants full custody out of the blue so be carefull and make sure you get primary sole custody he will be able to visit and he does have to pay child support. But you get to choose the days he sees him

Becca - posted on 12/04/2012

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well yay, but since he wont help with any payment you have the full advantage to custody

Nonie - posted on 12/04/2012

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If you weren't married, and/or if the judge didn't order it, then legally you are recognized as having custody. I don't know your full situation so I can't give you a complete answer.

Darlene - posted on 12/02/2012

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My sister was in your situation. Then one day when her son was 6 years old the Dad picked him up for a weekend visit. He didn't return the boy. She called the police but when they found out she had never filed for custody. The police told her they could NOT help her. The Dad had just as many rights as she did. I took us 3 years to find them and another 2 years of court battles to get him back. It is cheaper and easier to get custody now. Please do it. Plus the court will set up visitation and Child Support. Odds are since the father has not been a part of your childs life he will not ever do the visitation. but if he does he better have the boy back on time.

Christine Tiffany - posted on 12/02/2012

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yeah most likely. and my daughter has her dads lastname she 17 and hasnt seen him sense she was 3yrs and hes on her birth certificate. i had go for visits with her dad but he also walked because situation he didnt want or like and never came back.

Chana - posted on 12/02/2012

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you can request mediation. If it fails, you will have to see a judge. If you ask for 100% custody without police reports and documentation confirming that the father is abusive, a drug addict, or a violent/sexual criminal, you will not do well in mediation. Your best bet is to seek legal aid in your district an create a custody arrangement that will allow fair access to both parents. If you do not want to deal with the father, you can request that the visitation exchanges be made at your local police station.

Erin - posted on 12/02/2012

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you do have to go before a judge...because whether we like it or not he can go and possible object to your request.........it sucks but how it works

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