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Q: Unwed father and child custody rights ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Unwed father and child custody rights
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: sister1-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 07 Sep 2006 06:26 PDT
Expires: 07 Oct 2006 06:26 PDT
Question ID: 762986
My brother found out about his son when the child was 3 months old. 
The child is now 13 months old.  During that time, my brother has
taken several steps in order to become his legal father.  He has had a
patnerity/DNA test completed, my brother and the mother had the
child's last name changed to that of my brother's last name.  The two
parents have signed and agreed upon the following:  new copies of
birth certificates:which has the new name and my brother listed as the
father, also the child has had new social security cards made with the
name change. During this time, my brother has been giving the mother
weekly child support checks for the child even though this has not
been ordered by the court.  He has copies of all checks written to
her.  And he proviedes the child with things such as clothes, food,
diapers, medicine, etc. and etc.  He has kept all reciepts for all
purchases. Over the last 10 months my brother has had a lot of
visitation with his child.  But he has never been to family court. 
Everything has always been worked out among the mother and my brother.
 His visitation has been that of verbal agreements. However, it has
been a struggle. These visitations have included every other weekend
and 2/3 days during the week.  However, now things have changed.  My
brother is currenlty dating someone else and the child's mother is
extremely upset.  She now has gone back on the verbal agreement.  She
is not allowing my brother any contact with his child.  He has
retained a lawyer.  He is trying to decide to seek full, or joint
custody, or just be satisfied with the usual every other weekend visit
that is the norm.  There are some things about the mother she makes
very little income, does not keep a steady job, within the last year
she has had at least 6 different jobs.  She leaves in a household with
other adults who are alcoholics and drug abusers.  However, she is
neither one of those.  The house is very dirty and unclean and the
child has been diagnosed with Asthma.  My brother would love to have
custody of the child b/c that is what he believes would be best for
the child and the child's well-being.  What can my brother do at this
time.  Should he seek custody or just settle with visitation. Will the
courts want to know why the father has waited 10 months?-will this
look bad on the father's side? Would appreciate any advice.

Request for Question Clarification by politicalguru-ga on 28 Sep 2006 01:08 PDT
Dear Sister, 

What is the jurisdiction (state, and if possible - large nearby
city/area in the state)?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Unwed father and child custody rights
From: wrichard-ga on 07 Sep 2006 11:33 PDT
Document everything!  dates/places of her employment, unemployment,
roommates drug/alcohol abuse, visitation dates/times, late
pickups/dropoffs, child support payments, etc.
I would try to seek full custody in this case, but it really depends
upon whether you can afford it, and feel comfortable having full
custody.  You want what's best for your child.  Do what's best for
your child.
Waiting 10 months is not long, I wouldn't worry at all about that. 
Waiting 10 years, well, that would be different.
This was just some advice, nothing more.
Subject: Re: Unwed father and child custody rights
From: hedgie-ga on 28 Sep 2006 00:39 PDT
You brother should re-establish good relation with the mother,

may be even postpone the new relationship until the issue about
custody, child support and visitation  is setlled.

Then he should make an agreement with the mother, as good as they can manage

- they BOTH care about the child's welfare. 

Only then they should use a lawyer -- to have it written down, signed,
notarized ...

They need a lawyer in that last stage, since court may not allow some things
they may agree about. 
However, if they both get a lawyer now and start adversary
procedure in the family court  - thay all three will suffer needlessly

(the three = parents and child, not the laywer :-)

Subject: Re: Unwed father and child custody rights
From: irlandes-ga on 02 Nov 2006 09:00 PST
My advice to fathers when I supplied no-fee counseling was:

Put your children first. This is not the time to get new girlfriends
or hit the bars.

So, if it takes giving up on his sex life to maintain his contact with
his child, well, he has to decide which is more important to him.k

If it's the sex life, well, fatherhood is about putting your kids
first.  Either do that, or give up on that kid, and I certainly hope
the kid is first.

By the way, having checks showing paid support may be usable in
convincing a judge he has been active in the child's life.  However,
it won't be accepted as payment of child support, since Federal law
does not allow gifts of goods or cash to the mother to constitute
payment of child support.

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