Custody issues

Sarah - posted on 04/16/2012 ( 34 moms have responded )

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im a single mom and a friend of mine told me to apply for custody of my 18 month old daughter. but the problem is i dont know how to do so because the father is not on the birth certificate. i dont want him in her life no support or visitation from him at all. but if he takes her and moves i cant do anything about it. so i want to get custody so he cant take her from me... can anyone help me? please

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Threenorns - posted on 05/17/2012

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if he is not on the birth certificate, he has no parental rights and no parental responsibility. you are the only legal parent/guardian of the child. if he takes her and moves, he will be charged with kidnapping. if he leaves the state or province, it becomes felony kidnapping.



you can certainly go to court and apply for custody but to do that, the father of the baby would have to be served. but he's not on the birth certificate so to do that, you'd have to petition for a paternity test to prove he's the father just to deny him his rights as a father which will probably not be granted unless he's a proven danger to children.



if he wants access and visitation, he will have to petition the court for a paternity test and then he will also become responsible for child support retroactive to the child's birth.

Rachelle - posted on 04/25/2012

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REMEMBER that custody and child support are two different issues. Even if you are not asking for support he can still gain custody. Protect yourself and your child first!

Natalie - posted on 04/16/2012

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If he's not on the birth certificate, and there is no affidavit of paternity, then he cannot legally take her without proving, with a paternity test, that she is his biological child. He can't even visit her without your permission, and if you do allow it, you have the right to be there at all times. Without written proof of his paternity, you're holding all the cards. :)

Katlynne - posted on 04/16/2012

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if there is no proof he cant just take her my opinion dont worry about he cant do anything no proof she is his so

[deleted account]

I live in Wales and I can only go on what I've done. I have general custody of my three daughters and make all the decisions about their schooling, medication etc.. I was married to their Dad and he's on the birth certificate. He just doesn't participate in their lives. As he barely features in their lives, I asked my solicitor if I had/have to inform their Dad, my ex, about day to day running of their lives, e.g. medication, schooling etc.. Said no as there's a choice of two schools where I live - primary then secondary so a natural progression. Been advised that I should notify him if I moved out of the general area of where I live and/or immigrated to another country. Also if one (or more) of my girls were seriously ill/injured or worse. Apart from that I don't have to notify him, except for any other 'life changing' procedures that they need my consent for.



Looking at acknowledging if he's the father of your daughter. Mixed bag. She has a right to know/be aware of who her biological father is and to be able to make up her own mind about him.



With what you've said and also his known drug/alcohol issues, the chances of giving him custody is probably low, thought slight possible. It would come under the question of if he's fit/unfit to be a parent. If you want to get it formally acknowledged that he's not to take care of her, then you should acknowledge that he is the biological father of your daughter and talk to your solicitor about declaring him unfit to be a parent. See if you can go down that route, or what are the options about putting the necessary barriers in place for any possibility in the future. Then at least you can put your mind at rest.

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Gillian - posted on 06/06/2012

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oh yes the family thing i mentioned is a "pro se" law center as mentioned in previous comments.

Gillian - posted on 06/06/2012

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you can talk to legal aid, they will give you advice and point you in the direction of a free family service that will help you fill out and file papers, with or without the name but im sure to make sure he is the father he will have to take a dna test...also i have been told if neither parent has custody then the person who currently has the child has custody so if you let him take her, he would then have the custody and wouldnt have to give your child back, so try your best to keep her with you at all times.there are local legal aids all over just google it or call your local courthouse and they can give you a phone number.

Ruth - posted on 06/04/2012

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Sarah, you do not need an attorney to petition the court for an order of custody. Does your area have any type of "pro se" law center, or legal aide? These are the things you want to find to help you do this. If you call the clerk of the court, and start by asking them, they will be able to help you. If you like, you are welcome to send me a message and I will see what resources I can find for your area. But, these are things you can also research and find by doing simple google searches online for legal aide and such. Also, every single state's law and statutes are published online. Just google juvenile statutes and your state together.

You need to protect yourself and your daughter from any further abuse from her father. Is he calling, texting, harassing or stalking you? Is he attempting contact with you when you don't want it? Is he disrespecting your wishes in any way? If so, you do have enough grounds, if you really feel he could be a danger to you or your child, to seek an order of protection. Many states also offer clinics to assist women in abusive relationships to get this type of legal protection. So, you might find that out by calling the United Way resource number, which is some metro areas is 311 or 411. Check your local phone book for the listing. Or look up Domestic Violence resources in your local listings as well.

Once you explain your history, they might be able to direct you to specific resources to help you with legal matters, based upon your history of abuse in your relationship. These things take time, concerted effort and YOUR willingness to now HELP YOURSELF out of the situation. So, don't give up! I know you CAN do this! I did and, while it was not at all easy, it was well worth the effort!

You can email me at : OnTiptoe02@yahoo.com if you want more info or help to find resources. I did it. I represented myself through a similar custody matter, with an abusive ex. So, I know how hard it seems right now. Take good care and much love.
Ruth

Carlie - posted on 06/01/2012

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Depending on the state laws in which you currently reside, or the laws of your child's birth state, when you choose to determine child custody, the state pays, you pay, or the father pays. You will have to request either a DNA test or child paternity request. It can be $100.00-300.00+ to do so.

I am saddened to hear you do not wish to have him in her life. I disagree, unless it is a decision that would be harmful to your child's safety. I would speak to the father and make your wishes known to him. I would do so by certified letter or notarized letter. You need to keep an accurate accounting of all child-related requests and information, as this will be extremely DETRIMENTAL in a child custody suit. The certified and/or notarized letter should include your desire to seek full custody, and again, unless he is unsafe for your daughter's emotional well-being, your wishes or request for visitation procedures. I urge you to do it in this manner or in a manner such as this one.

You do not need an attorney. It is not detrimental. You can represent yourself. Just make sure your personal and professional life is on the up and up. Meaning a judge will look into: your employment, your bills, your financial affairs, your personal life. So will your ex. Don't give him the tools to bring you down, because he will, if he chooses to fight you on this.

Oftentimes, parents get confused about the issue of their children's welfare. It's not about YOU. It's not about HIM. It's about your CHILD. Put your child's best interests in mind, not yours or your displeasure of him (unless again a safety issue), and a judge will respect you at least, for your honesty and devotion to your child.

Good luck dear. :)

Leeanne - posted on 05/31/2012

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The most he will get is supervised visitation. but if hes not interested in seeing her, he wont follow the court order anyways. I would get something written legally so he can't just up and take her. they will make him take a paternity test and all that. or you could see if he will sign a paper saying he doesnt want visitation or any kind of custody and you have all physical and legal custody of your daughter. or your last option would be to take him to court and have him give up ALL rights to her. but a judge won't usually not give the father any kind of visitation.

[deleted account]

The court would take that into account - his history of violence etc.. If he does find out where you live and attempts to get any custody, make sure that you let the court know the history between you and him, also his alchol and drug issues as well. The child's safety is usually always put first.

Sarah - posted on 05/30/2012

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wow so many things to consider, i have no idea what to do. hes not trying to contct me, so at this point i think im just going to lay low for a bit, he has no idea where i am and he is having a baby with his new girlfriend. im hoping he forgets about me and my baby. i dont need the support payments, and he abused me when i was pregnant and took food out of my mouth to feed my daughter when i was pregnant because he was high and hungry. also took my money to support his drinking, smoking and drug habbit. i dont know how all this will work out i am just hoping he doesnt find out where i am. my daughter is almost 2 shes talking and its getting more and more difficult for me. i really want what is best for my daughter and at this point, what is best for her is keeping her away from him, he has no job, he does drugs, drinks, and when we were together cops were involved because he kicked me and threw a chair at me when i was pregnant so yah that being said, i just wanna protect me and her from him.

Emily - posted on 05/28/2012

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Sarah,
I understand where you are coming from being my son's father has done little to nothing for my son. He was born in 2009 and the father was tired of hearing my complain about $20 dollars a week and a box of pampers and wipes for the month he signed himself up for child support and now he is paying 66$ a week. He was not on the certificate and my son has my last name. SO when the prick gets a new g/f they both turn on me and file for this child support and now CUSTODY. My son's father does not call, does not arrange for visits, blocked his new number, and disconnected his other. His father is practically a stranger and the new gf is an instigator. He has watched him here and there , but has only started with support in 2012!!! I had the opportunity to file for custody first and I talked to a lawyer and she said why file if he is not interested? I would be giving him more rights and chalking up more money up front. So now I moved he supposably filed and the courts won't give him the new address to mail the papers and he never asked me for it. So if he is not involved , I wouldn't file, because in my county its 50 / 50 custody. hope this helps

Jen - posted on 05/23/2012

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I don't have legal custody of my oldest, nobody does. I talked to an attorney whe she was little and he said not to worry about it unless it were to come up. Typically mom has legal custody unless dad contests it.

Allyison - posted on 05/14/2012

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Hi, That is absolutely the truth, it will take you more time and heartache to get your child back if you do not have any custody agreement. You will need to file in family court. You can google the family court system in your city or state.
However, they will advise and serve the father and then he will have to be subjected to a paternity test(due to the birth certificate issue).

You need to think about what actions you want to take and don't take too long.

Sarah - posted on 05/03/2012

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yah this is the problem, ive spoken to 2 lawyers and its gotten me NOWHERE! all i want is whats best for my daughter. and that in my mind is keeping her away from him, i believe he might be in jail right now anyway, so i hope that if anything was to happen that i could use his charges as ammo against him, like i said i realize its important to have both the parents but in this case its not best for my little girl, he doesnt have a job so there would be no support to begin with and i have a lot of savings built up in case something happens to her and believe me i just dont want his money, the fact that hes having another kid with another girl im hoping he just forgets me and leaves me and most of all my baby alone, i dont want her growing up around all those drugs and cigarette smoke, i dont do any of that, as of right now i think im going to start fresh and see a lawyer and tell them i dont know the father and see where that gets me.

Thanks Everyone, :)

Judy - posted on 05/02/2012

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he is not on the bith certificate so if he took her than you can say that he took her and is not the father. 'but if he does take her you may end up having to search for her. It would be best to not let him know where she is if you dont want him around her. If you have court orders than neither of you could take the child against the orders. if he is not a bad father they will most likely let him have visitation or 1/2 custody. It is best to use a attorney.
He could take you to court too. but he will have to prove that she is his before anything will be done.

Sara - posted on 05/01/2012

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Unless he has abused the child it's always best for the child(ren) to have access to both parents. That being said, you can come up with a court order which states how far each parent can move from each other. If he moves further than what is ordered he is in contempt of court and faces fines and jail time. You can also set up child support into a trust fund for your child in case of emergencies and for your daughters future. If you fear the Dad taking your daughter than the court order is your biggest weapon. I hope you are able to get this resolved.

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2012

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Also, because you don't have custody, and he does not have custody, no one has custody, and YES you are unprotected if he chooses to take her and not come back, I have watched this happen to a friend of mine and that's why it's best you get a lawyer to find out exactly the law.

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2012

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Ok here is the deal, the fact that he is NOT on the certificate does not matter, I know this from personal experience, You can still take him to court for full custody. Your friend is right, until you get custody, you don't have rights of if he takes her.

Now if your ex (since not on certificate) tries to argue in the court that he is not even the father and he shouldn't have to own up to any financial support or responsibility, using the lack of his name on her certificate, they will require him to pay the cost for a maternity test and still move forward. If he denies being the father than custody will be yours anyway. keep your chin up, and good luck.

Karen - posted on 04/23/2012

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I wasn't sure about that, I didn't think he could but like I said why chance it, I would still find out though, every place has different laws

Callie - posted on 04/23/2012

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Without being on the birth certificate and with no visitation set, if he takes her, he can be charged with kidnapping. He is not the custodial parent.

Callie - posted on 04/23/2012

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If the child lives with you and the father is not on the birth certificate, you legally have sole custody automatically. No need to apply for custody. I'm in the same situation myself. Unless paternity has been established on paper, he has no rights.

Karen - posted on 04/22/2012

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If he's not seeing her at all and you don't need the support payments I wouldn't worry about it. But he can at any time file for visitation. He could possibly file for custody but unless he can prove you unfit that will never happen if he's been absent for 2 years, plus in most cases judges won't take a child away from their home unless there's a good reason. I would also agree with Marlo, you should look into the abandonment laws, I wish I had them where I am. If he does try for visitation I would suggest you try for supervised visits and random drug testing. Every place has different laws I would google your state laws, it's a long boring read but it puts you more at ease about the situation (especially if he starts threatening you with taking your daughter) and that way you can make a real informed decision without legal fees.



VERY IMPORTANT if you agree to let him see her at any time file for temporary custody first!!!! (I'm not sure if this applies because he's not on the birth certificate but I wouldn't chance it) If you do not have a court order and he takes her then decides not to bring her home there is nothing the police can do. All you can do is take him to court to get her back and that can be a long drawn out process. My sister went through that, it took her a year and a half to get her kids back because her ex kept remanding for different reasons and she had to prove that he wasn't a good parent (drugs etc.) She couldn't just get them back right away (even though they lived with her for a year+ after they broke up) because family court rules that parents have an equal right to their children.

Marlo - posted on 04/20/2012

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IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU LIVE!!!! Illinois is pretty bad at the whole custody thing and desperately tries to find their father.. Sometimes signing the birth certificate or not doesn't matter.. (IT doesn't in Illinois, at least).. Depending on the circumstances, try to look up about filing for abandonment in your state.

Sarah - posted on 04/19/2012

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well she will be 2 in july and has not seen her ever. have not seen him since i was 5 months pregnant when he abused me. so im hoping it will make it easy to sever any contact with him

Lisa - posted on 04/19/2012

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If he has never seen her then you can sever his parental rights. In some states like texas it's fairly easy but in others it usually takes a year of non contact to do it.

Sarah - posted on 04/17/2012

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thank you everyone for you advice. i really do appreciate it. its helping me put my mind to rest. since hes having another kid with another girl i hope he just leaves me and my baby alone... keeping my fingers crossed!

Sarah - posted on 04/16/2012

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thank you for the advice, i appreciate it. do you know if i was to go for full custody and i was to say i dont know who the father is would they still give me custody? i mean i technically have custody shes been with me since day 1 he has not seen her at all. i am her care giver but i want to get it written down so he cant take off with her

[deleted account]

From the sounds of it, he isn't very interested in your daughter. He's more interested in other things, like his parents - drugs and alcohol.



You have to weight it up for yourself. Do you want to get something written down legally or leave it to chance that he cleans up his act. At the present time, you've got justified reasons for not wanting to have contact/visitation with your daughter (drug/alchol abuse). The decision you really have to answer is, would it give you piece of mind if you got full custody of your daughter through the courts. If the answer is yes, then that is the option to go for. If you feel that he's unlikely to do anything and you'd rather wait, then that is the option for you.

Sarah - posted on 04/16/2012

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i went to see a lawyer for a free consultation and she said they rarely deny visitation. i dont want any support payments from him (he doesnt have a job anyway so i wouldnt be getting any) as harsh as this sounds i dont want him to see her he has drug abuse and alcohol abuse and so do his parents (which he lives with) which is not something i want her around. shes almost 2 and he has not tried to see her at all. so should i just wait it out and see what happenes? or should i apply for custody? like i said name is not on the certificate and she has my last name.



Thanks for the replys!

Louise - posted on 04/16/2012

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If you are not asking for support from him and he has no visitation at all then it is very unlikely that he would gain custody of her. Speak to a lawyer and see what they have to say. Just making contact could drag him back into your life, but at the same time you need clarity on what his rights are as an abscent father.

[deleted account]

go talk to a solicitor for some advice and guidance on what your options are. If you are worried about the father of your daughter moving away with her, put in some sensible steps like not letting him have unsupervised visits.



Certainly go see a solicitor and get the necessary paperwork sorted. Also look at the options of him being on the birth certificate so that you can get things like child support etc..

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