Custody Battle of a Newborn- please share your thoughts...

Danielle - posted on 12/17/2009 ( 238 moms have responded )

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My cousin had her baby this week and the father wants 50/50 (her one week, him one week) custody of the baby. He is her ex-boyfriend. This ding dong doesn't understand that a NEWBORN can't be away from his mother for a whole week at a time. THEN...to top it off because she said no, she wont do that, he threatens to take the baby away completely!!! What an idiot...the state of Texas wont even take a baby from a drug user/addict alot of the time much less a regular person. He thinks he's better suited since he owns a home/makes $100,000+ a year and she makes less than half of that and has an apartment. He's already hired a lawyer and about to file a suit, she can't afford a lawyer and Is scared to death that he'll win. It's hard enough to raise a baby on your own, then to have someone putting all of this stress on you and trying to take him away. Share your thoughts please, be brutally honest.

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Michelle - posted on 12/18/2009

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Technically daddy has rights but in the case of a newborn he's not going to get overnight visits for probably the first year or two. Most states do recognize that a newborn does need their mom. She should contact legal aid and try to track down a pro bono lawyer. Not only is his custody case likely to get shut down, she will probably get child support. Now when the kid is older arrangements may change to 50/50 or it may not. Income does not make you a better or worse parent and courts don't generally use that against mothers in custody cases because they are typically at a disadvantage in that department from the get go. Get a lawyer and my guess is he will back down.

Stacy - posted on 12/18/2009

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I guess im the opposite here on this one. I believe that a man has equal rights to his child that he equally created. Obviosly if she is breast feeding then the whole week to week thing wont work. If they compromise and become friends then life for the child will be much easier and more stable. My husband went through this with his ex-wife and his daughter has alot of issues due to their fighting. Maybe he can have the child every Thursday-Sunday. You can look up shared custody laws and the benefits of it for the child. Maybe every weekend. IDK but if shes willing to talk to him maybe he'll call off the lawyers, he can fight her till she runs out of money and he will win. Good luck.

Kristin - posted on 12/18/2009

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It doesn't matter what she makes as far as money I am going through a custody battle myself right now for all four of my children (my ex has filed for full custody). Because he filed and is fighting for custody and me being on a limited income II contacted legal aid which hooked me up with a pro-bono lawyer. A father is very very unlikely to get custody arrangements for a newborn for one week off and one week on. My ex wasn't even able to get one week on with my 2 year old. Good luck to you I live in Michigan things might be different but, if I can help I would. Tell her GOOD LUCK and STAY STRONG always!

Kate CP - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Nancy:

In Canada, it has been shown and researched and yes, 50/50 custody is where the courts START with Canadian family law.
Yes, having a newborn is very stressful, but if the parents are not together, when can the father bond with his child unless he is given just as much access as the mother. Having a good strong bond with both parents is what is best for the child.
Sometimes mothers die in childbirth and the fathers take care of a newborn all by themselves, so it is possible.
This would hurt me too if I was the mother, but I see custody battles all the time in the work I do, it almost always gets ugly, and the kids end up hurting. T
he best thing for the CHILD is to have equal access to her parents. Every child has the right to know and bond with both her parents. Period.


Right now this baby can't even see across the room. She's too young to understand what is going on. Developmentally she needs the warmth and comfort and nutrition of her mother MORE than a snuggle from Daddy. When the child is older and not quite so dependent on Mom then I can see sharing custody. But if Daddy wants to see the baby right now he needs to be nice to Mom and ask if he can visit during the day when baby is awake.

Kate CP - posted on 12/18/2009

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Where in Texas does she live? I'm in Dallas and I know a bit about family law and a few family law attorneys.

Katherine - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Danielle:

He was there for most of the doctors appts and they did go to see a counselor a few times about their "relationship". He was in the room for the birth but stayed off in the corner. He didn't want to cut the cord or hold the baby, finally the nurse said "here, hold your son" and put him in his arms. The next day, he didn't come to the hospital at all. He did call to check on her though.


As far as I'm concerned it's a slam dunk, no questions AT ALL.  He can talk all he wants but he's going to be the fool in the end.  What an idiot.  Ex BF none the less?????  COME ON.  Tell her to call his bluff.

Katherine - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Jodi:



Quoting Nancy:

In Canada the courts start at 50/50 because it has been shown time and time again to be in the best interest of the child. Breast milk can be pumped, and formula can be used. I'm not sure what the laws are where you live, but custody is a very emotional thing, and it is always difficult to separate what we, as parents, want vs what is best for the baby. If this man wants 50/50 custody, good for him!






Actually, if I were a breastfeeding mother, I would totally argue against you on this one.  Yes, breast milk can be pumped, but (1) pumping is not nearly as efficient as actually breastfeeding and often results in having to supplement, (2) not being around the crying baby for extended periods can decrease the production of breast milk, our hormones are trained to respond to our baby's cries, and (3) feeding from a bottle on a regular basis can make a baby lazy and can cause it to reject the breast altogether.  None of this is in the best interests of the child. 





Not only that the child lives with the mother now.  This is ridiculous, it's a scare tactic, no judge will grant that BS

Jodi - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Nancy:

In Canada, it has been shown and researched and yes, 50/50 custody is where the courts START with Canadian family law.
Yes, having a newborn is very stressful, but if the parents are not together, when can the father bond with his child unless he is given just as much access as the mother. Having a good strong bond with both parents is what is best for the child.
Sometimes mothers die in childbirth and the fathers take care of a newborn all by themselves, so it is possible.
This would hurt me too if I was the mother, but I see custody battles all the time in the work I do, it almost always gets ugly, and the kids end up hurting. T
he best thing for the CHILD is to have equal access to her parents. Every child has the right to know and bond with both her parents. Period.



This is total and utter rubbish.  How many fathers TRULY spend 50% of their time with a newborn baby when the parents are together?  Let's all be honest here. On average, mum is home all day with a newborn baby and dad is out working.  Mum gets up at night to breastfeed the baby, dad sleeps the night. So far, 3/4 of the day is gone and no bonding. In general Dad probably spends only a couple of hours a day bonding with his bub at most.  As baby grows a little older, this time extends, and bonding time grows. 



I am in Australia where 50/50 is also now assumed, but there is not a judge in the court that would consider taking a newborn BREASTFEEDING baby from its mother for a full week at a time, unless the mother is declared unfit. An arrangement working out a couple of hours after work each evening, plus perhaps overnight every other weekend would be perfectly suitable in a situation where he is working (what is the point if he is shoving the baby off to daycare every other week???), and probably around the same time that most fathers spend with their newborn babies when the mother is a SAHM.  Certainly, arrangments should be staggered so that as the baby gets older, more time can be spent, but as long as the mother is breastfeeding why should she have to stop?  It certainly wouldn't be because the baby's best interests are being served.



You are absolutely right, custody battles can get nasty, and it should never be about the feelings of the parents.  What father would be so selfish as to assume a newborn baby who is being breastfed can spend 50% of its time with him?  He is not fighting for the baby's rights - he is fighting for his own selfish desires, and that is to screw with the mother of this baby.  Threats of full custody?  Yep, he's really thinking of the child's best interests....NOT. There are many OTHER suitable arrangments that would better suit a breastfeeding newborn that could be negotiated. No-one is suggesting that the child doesn't have the right to access to both parents, but there are other aspects to also consider in the best interests of a child.



Evidently you have not breastfed any of your own children, or you would see how impossible a 50/50 arrangement would be.

Kristine - posted on 12/18/2009

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I think every state and every county is also different as well as every judge or court commissioner (that's what I had to start with). My son's father wanted to be involved but didn't want to pay any support as far as half of what I paid for the things my son needed including doctor fees. He wanted to go to court and do it legally first. So he waited 10 months after I told him if he didn't want to help me support him he didn't need to see him. He filed papers at that time and the court commissioner basically called me a slut (probably because I was only 19 when I had him and he most likely thought I wanted to trap him in to marrying me even though I was the one who broke it off) and praised him for wanting to be a father. I think even if I was breastfeeding and he had started this when he was born, the court commissioner would probably have told me to quit breastfeeding. This is how bad of impression I got from him. This was over 10 years ago but like I say every circumstance is different and it is definitely a good idea to gather some facts about breastfeeding and try to work on a schedule she thinks would work good for the first year of life. If she plans on discontinuing the breastfeeding before 1 year then figure out a schedule from that time on too. It is definitely hard to figure out a schedule when you don't know what the schedule of the baby is going to be like but at least this shows that she is trying to work with him. Like other people have said also document everything that she does as far as the time of feeding and diaper changes and naps and also every conversation they have or letter or email. It sounds to me like he thinks he won't have to pay child support if he has him 50/50 and he just wants to hold on to his money. Maybe I am wrong and he really does want to be involved but could it maybe be family members or friends asking him why he doesn't go for custody and it isn't really what he wants. I think that is why my ex went for placement to begin with.



I hope everything goes well for her and I will be praying for things to work out for the best. Have her keep in mind that if things don't, everything does happen for a reason and she should try to think of positive things instead of all the negative also.



Best of luck.

User - posted on 12/18/2009

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In Canada, it has been shown and researched and yes, 50/50 custody is where the courts START with Canadian family law.
Yes, having a newborn is very stressful, but if the parents are not together, when can the father bond with his child unless he is given just as much access as the mother. Having a good strong bond with both parents is what is best for the child.
Sometimes mothers die in childbirth and the fathers take care of a newborn all by themselves, so it is possible.
This would hurt me too if I was the mother, but I see custody battles all the time in the work I do, it almost always gets ugly, and the kids end up hurting. T
he best thing for the CHILD is to have equal access to her parents. Every child has the right to know and bond with both her parents. Period.

Renae - posted on 12/18/2009

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I dont know a single man who could look after a newborn by himself? Does he have any idea whats involved? Surely common sense must prevail here and the court has to see that he has no idea. I hope someone who knows something about the laws in her state responds with some helpful information for you. Sorry I cant give you any.

Chantelle - posted on 12/18/2009

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sorry i have no knowledge of us legal system. but on a different note assuming that she feels she can trust him, then maybe she should give it a try at best he will find it very different from what he thinks and try to find a better solution..... at worst he will be very good and although you will find it hard at first but helpful in the long run. ps.. i get the feeling that there is more going on with them than the custody of the baby... best of luck

Danielle - posted on 12/18/2009

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He was there for most of the doctors appts and they did go to see a counselor a few times about their "relationship". He was in the room for the birth but stayed off in the corner. He didn't want to cut the cord or hold the baby, finally the nurse said "here, hold your son" and put him in his arms. The next day, he didn't come to the hospital at all. He did call to check on her though.

Danielle - posted on 12/18/2009

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By the way, was he there for her during the pregnancy? If not that might be something to bring up in court...his lack of interest.

Danielle - posted on 12/18/2009

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He's being ridiculous and even if he says he wants that baby every other week ON HIS OWN I bet he wouldn't make it through a day without losing his mind trying to figure out what a newborn baby needs! I also am unfamiliar with the legal system in the U.S. but I imagine there has to be some sort of legal aid that your cousin can apply for...maybe not free like you said but something to help with the cost. If she's breastfeeding...it simply is not an option to separate that baby from his/her mother. Maybe your cousin could get something written from her doctor about that. 99% of the time court systems don't take children from their mothers unless the mother has some sort of substance abuse problem or whatever else. Especially so young.

Shannon - posted on 12/17/2009

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First of all, your cousin needs to immediately file papers for custody. I agree that a breastfeeding infant should not be away from its mother for a week long period, but your cousin has to understand that her ex-boyfriend has every right in the world to be a big part of this baby's life, so she is going to have to give a little. She should try to get her ex to sit down with her and make a parenting plan before anyone has to go to court because any attempts by her to be cooperative with the father will definitely look good in the judge's eyes. Make sure anything said or done is witnessed and all papers with parenting time information should be signed and dated by both parents if possible. She should definitely have an alternative plan prepared to show the judge if her ex is unwilling to sit down with her to discuss alternatives. Maybe she could let her ex take the baby for a couple hours every evening or during the day so that he can remain a part of the baby's life. The key is to avoid acting like she is unwilling to compromise. She should write down the details about all attempts she makes to be cooperative- phone calls, letters, meetings, etc. She could suggest working with a mediator through the court because third-party intervention often opens the eyes of all parties involved in child custody cases. As for child support, if the ex makes twice what your cousin is making, he would still have to pay child support even if the custody arrangement was 50/50. The idea of child support is to maintain stability for the child based on what it would have been like if the parents had stayed together to raise the child. Honestly, if the father wants this type of custody because he wants to be with his child as much as possible, your cousin should feel lucky and try to do what she can to keep the parental relationship from becoming strained. If she feels he is doing this just to be a jerk, the judge is going to see right through him because custody battles last a long time. There will be plenty of time for everything to come out. Good luck to your cousin!

[deleted account]

Difficult situation! Even though it has been awhile since I had a newborn I know what an emotionaly delicate time that was for me and how difficult it would have been for me to be away from my baby.



Having said that sometimes we put ourselves in tough situations through poor choices we make in significant others (guilty!!) and we have to deal with the fallout of our own choices. "Lawyering up" is the best way to know your rights, however since they are starting this new baby's life seperatly and will probably remain seperate parents for the remainder of the baby's life it would be in everyone's best interest to learn to compromise now and give this child the gift of a loving home at both Mom's and Dad's.



Certainly every other week custody is not a good situation for a newborn and nursing mother, so perhaps coming up with a long term plan of increased time and overnights would reassure the Father that he is valued in the baby's life and will not be shut out.



Fathers are just as important in children's lives as Mothers.

Emma - posted on 12/17/2009

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Your friend should not only file her own custody papers, but while she's gathering documentation she should also research the effects of pumping to natural breastfeeding and provide the courts that information.



She may not qualify for legal assistance but I am positive there is at least one lawyer, who once her story is heard will take the case based on her income.



My husbands ex stopped breastfeeding at 6 wks so he could take their daughter on the weekends. That was her decision though, no one forced her into it and actually her social worker was surprised that she would do that. Me on the other hand (if me and hubby split) wouldn't do that.



Tell your cousin not to give up. As long as her baby is healthy, and she is providing a safe home and there is no abuse, drug or alcohol problems there should be no problem. Maybe your cousin could try and work out a visitation schedule that includes her being there to feed the baby?

Jodi - posted on 12/17/2009

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Quoting Nancy:

I'm guessing the feeling of being put off is probably mutual. There is no reason why a father cannot handle a new born at night... most mothers would think they had died and gone to heaven if the father wanted to take care of the baby all day for a week!



I don't know a single mother who would be happy about her child being gone for a whole day under these circumstances, much less an entire week. I think most mothers might die and go to heaven if the father stayed home and took care of the baby for a week, if that father was living with the mother!!! I also must disagree with your previous post about the best interest of the child. Pumping for an entire week without seeing or hearing your child will almost certainly diminish your milk supply, not mention probably create nipple confusion. As for supplementing with formula, that child's mother is making the best decision for her child by breastfeeding, the father should support that, in the interest of the child, NOT use formula to get his way. They should work out visitations, but he should not have 50/50 custody just yet. Where do you get your facts by the way? They seem terribly innacurate.

Jodi - posted on 12/17/2009

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Stay strong! If she's breastfeeding, chances are, she'll have physical placement and full custody for at least a year. Here in Wisconsin (my sister just went through a custody battle with her ex) the physical placement and custody agreement is for 4 years, then a new court date can be set. Her ex is allowed visitations where my sister brings the baby over for 2 hours (once a week). She was told to pump a bottle for that visit, but fortunately the Dad asked her to come by when he called to breastfeed. His job will probably have little effect on the outcome. Stay by your cousin's side on this one, with all her new hormones and now this (and really, why on earth would he pick NOW to start this crap?!) she'll need someone to listen and probably let her breakdown a time or two. BTW, it took my sister and her ex 2 months to get into court for their custody battle. and I agree with other posters, DOCUMENT! Print out some made up charts to keep track of bottles/oz, diaper changes, naps and sleep and even baths! Also, document every conversation with the dad, you never know what they will say! My sister kept a sensitive recorder near her phone with her first child (different dad) and after weeks of nice convo, he finally got pissed and threatened her AND her baby! He's not allowed to see his child. He also sent a friend over to her house disguised as a social worker to get inside and scope out the house, so beware of that if he's kind of psycho. NEwayz, this is way too long, best of luck!

[deleted account]

Nancy, You say "most mothers". You must know different mothers than I do. I don't know any new mother that would want her new born to be away from her for any time at all. Also, if this father really cared about the well being of his child, he would never start a custody battle right when a baby is brought into the world. This time is one of the hardest transitions a new mother can go through and putting her under this kind of stress right when the baby is born is down right cruel. He sounds like a very selfish person who wants whats best for him...not the baby. And where in the world did you get your information that it is shown that shared custody, one week on/one week off...was in the best interst of the child. I would sure like to know where you are getting your statistics.

User - posted on 12/17/2009

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Document, document, document! I am glad to hear that the father wants to be involved, as I feel, that as long as both parties are physically and mentally capable of handling the role of a parent, they should be involved.
That said, they need to be able to work together, they need to be able to communicate, etc. At this age, depending on what professionals (doctors, mental health professionals, etc.) think, 1 week on and off is probably not feasible.
We just finished up our third round in family court for sole custody of my step son, we got it. It is NEVER easy on anyone involved. We told him each time, if we had anything to do about it, he would always see his mom.
To your cousin: Do everything you can to maintain civil communication, document it (gmail is great for saving emails indefinitely), keep you and your baby healthy and search for a legal professional with a good reputation who will work with you on a payment plan (join a pre-paid legal group, if available). If you need to seek out counseling, everyone needs an ear to listen and someone to help them work out their worries. Good Luck!

Your cousin is lucky to have you in her life! Stay strong!

Kimberley Deane - posted on 12/17/2009

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my ex partner was acting the same way when we first split up. he said he was going to take me to court and take our little girl away from me. however this didnt happen. we went to court for access but he had no leg to stand on for full custody.

my auntie is a social worker and she deals with this sort of thing, and here in the UK the legal system will not remove a child from the care of its mother unless she is unable to care for the child, and it has to be extreme cases, such as abuse, drug or alcohol abuse.

this stress can't be good for her. or for their baby.

to even post this is showing your suport for your cousin, all you can do is advise her and keep suporting her.

good luck to you both

[deleted account]

It would all depend on circumstances, if he was there for the pregnancy, if he was at all doctor appointments, if he has had the baby alone ever. Breast feeding would more then likely hold off on over nights for the first year. He will eventually get them unless he does something horribly wrong. To be honest 50/50 is more then likely so he won’t have to pay child support to her. As long as she can provide a clean safe home, and she is not doing negative things she will be fine. If he serves her she can represent herself, tell her to go to a lawyer that offers a one hour consultation for free without retainer and get more advice.

Tanya - posted on 12/17/2009

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I am sorry to hear that..I have been in a custody battle for 9 years with my 2 sons and unfortunately my ex husbands parents paid the judge off and took mine..I hope she doesnt have a bad result like me..I will pray for her..

Amanda - posted on 12/17/2009

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i believe the truth ALWAYS wins my husband and i were in court for 7 years with his EX who uses the children in her stupid mind games. so what i say is BREASTFEED STAY TRUE TO WHO SHE IS AND HER VALUES keep her circle of friends to people she knows live wholesome lives and get involved in a state run parenting group because when she needs it they will be there for her Good Luck and stay strong and most of all believe in the truth. most sincerely Amanda xoxo

Jodi - posted on 12/17/2009

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Quoting Nancy:

In Canada the courts start at 50/50 because it has been shown time and time again to be in the best interest of the child. Breast milk can be pumped, and formula can be used. I'm not sure what the laws are where you live, but custody is a very emotional thing, and it is always difficult to separate what we, as parents, want vs what is best for the baby. If this man wants 50/50 custody, good for him!



Actually, if I were a breastfeeding mother, I would totally argue against you on this one.  Yes, breast milk can be pumped, but (1) pumping is not nearly as efficient as actually breastfeeding and often results in having to supplement, (2) not being around the crying baby for extended periods can decrease the production of breast milk, our hormones are trained to respond to our baby's cries, and (3) feeding from a bottle on a regular basis can make a baby lazy and can cause it to reject the breast altogether.  None of this is in the best interests of the child. 

Maggie - posted on 12/17/2009

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she better GET A LAWYER and file her own papers as fast as possible. It's highly doubtful that a judge would let him have the baby for a full week at a time but then again you never know.

Francesca - posted on 12/17/2009

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Family law is completely different. She already has de facto custody. They wont change that. Lawyer or not. She needs to go and file custody papers now. It may be a few months before you can see a judge. But in the mean time tell her to document everything. From when she changes the baby's diaper, and when he makes comments. Go and file, and if he harrasses, file for non-harrassing order too.

If he really cares, he wouldnt do that to the baby.

User - posted on 12/17/2009

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I'm guessing the feeling of being put off is probably mutual. There is no reason why a father cannot handle a new born at night... most mothers would think they had died and gone to heaven if the father wanted to take care of the baby all day for a week!

Danielle - posted on 12/17/2009

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She wants him to be very involved but is very put off by his actions so far. He should be working with her, not against her. She has a six year old son from a previous marriage.

User - posted on 12/17/2009

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In Canada the courts start at 50/50 because it has been shown time and time again to be in the best interest of the child. Breast milk can be pumped, and formula can be used. I'm not sure what the laws are where you live, but custody is a very emotional thing, and it is always difficult to separate what we, as parents, want vs what is best for the baby. If this man wants 50/50 custody, good for him!

Amy - posted on 12/17/2009

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OMG! WOW this kinda sounds like wat me and my husband r goin through, except its HIS PARENTS!!!! we are fighting it of course and his parents are tryin to prove me as an unfit mother and lalala but id tell your sister not to worry (i kno thats hard) but everything will b ok, and that if theres a judge dumb enough to take a baby a NEWBORN frm his or her mother they need to be shot. but tell her that there might b a lawyer willing to meet with her and here her side and they might take the case. and i also kno that some lawyers let u make payments to them.. i hope that this helps and keep me posted on wat happen

Tiffany - posted on 12/17/2009

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As long as there are no reasons to believe she is a bad mother, drug user, abusive, etc. & that she has enough money to support herself and child I don't see any court system giving custody to the father. Having more money doesn't make you a better option for custody of a child. I wouldn't worry so much on that part. But your cousin does need to figure out how she will go about custody/visitation because I can't see a court system keeping a willing father away from his child and not giving him shared custody. How does she want him to be in their child's life?

User - posted on 12/17/2009

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If she breastfeeds I do not see the court taking his side at all the baby will have to be with her no matter what if that is the situation, also the courts frown upon a new born being seperated from the mother the first three years of it's life. But every state is different though. She has to get a lawyer if she is going to court so then it will be a far trial. Some lawyers to pro-bono or whatever the legal term is for free services. She can always call a lawyer and they can refer to a lawyer who does it. Money does not matter as long as the baby will be in a healthy home with a stable parent that's all they care about. I do believe both parents should be involved in the up bringing of the child but they will have to learn to get along if they want their child to be happy and healthy. I hope some of this helps but not enough time write everything I would like to :)

Danielle - posted on 12/17/2009

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She is breastfeeding and where she lives, she doesn't qualify financially for free legal representation.

Jodi - posted on 12/17/2009

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Danielle, I hadn't even read through the entire post before thinking, "NO WAY"!!! If she breastfeeds, he won't even be able to get an over night I wouldn't imagine, let alone a week. However, she does need a lawyer. I am not familiar with the legal system in the US, so I am not sure if you have any free legal services,etc, but she needs to fight this, and she needs to file for child support as well.

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