A unwed unemployed mother. Can the father get custody of my child?

Asked over 1 year ago - Atlanta, GA

We have live together a year before our 3 year old son was born. Now we are going our separate ways and he do not want to be on child support. He says that he is going to take our child because he shouldn't have to pay support and can buy things for him and do things for him.

Additional information

I have been unemployed the whole time we live together for four years but have been to school. He feels that I trying to take money out of his pocket. He was ok with me keeping our child until I told him that he will have to help by paying child support which is more than he wants to give.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Steven P. Shewmaker

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You should file a petition for paternity. This sort of petition seeks to establish a parental link between your child and his father. The purpose of a paternity action is only to seek and obtain child support. If he is wise, he will seek a legitimation in response. This will seek to establish parental rights for him, such as visitation rights and possibly decision-making authority.

    As I tell fathers in these situations, "She is seeking child support, which she will very likely get. Therefore, you ought to at least get something for your money - the right to see your child." Until he obtains a court order legitimizing his relationship, he is now and remains a "stranger to the child" in the eyes of the law. Under the law, right now he has as much right to see your child as I do.

    Now, he may challenge that he is actually the father, despite your four year relationship. He may ask for a DNA test.

    Another common tactic is to attempt to take your child from you. Once the legitimation occurs, and he is a legal parent, he has every right to attempt to obtain primary custody of your child. A judge will have to decide whether your child is better off in your care or his. Most judges see an attempt to take custody in order to avoid paying child support a mile away. Still, the factors to consider are many.

    You ought to consult an attorney experienced in these matters. DHS is one option. if you are in Atlanta, there is also Atlanta Legal Aid. In Gwinnett County, there is Gwinnett Legal Aid. You may qualify for free or reduced cost legal assistance. I encourage you to look into these programs. Good luck.

  2. Glen Edward Ashman


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unless he has legitimated the child he has no right to take the child or even see the child. You have every right to make him pay child support, and should do so. Note that he can petition a court for legitimization but not paying support looks bad for him in such a case. Should he do so, you need a lawyer.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to... more
  3. William M. Brownell Jr.


    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Ashman above. But I would add that in the event he does file an action for legitimation and custody, you would want to be in as stable an employment and housing situation as possible. So start right now trying to get a long term job and having you and your son living independently and in as nice a home environment as possible. If he files for legitimation, there is no question that you need to hire an attorney.

  4. Rachel Aliza Elovitz

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . He has a duty under the law, all parents do, to support his child, even if he has not legitimated the child. Don't wait until he files to legitimate the child (which he many never do) to seek child support for your son. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can apply for assistance to collect child support through DHS, the Division of Child Support Services. Here is the website and contact information:

    Website: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/
    Application for Services: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/application-services
    Atlanta Division of Child Support Services (120)
    1526 East Forrest Ave. Suite 300
    East Point, GA 30344
    Phone: 1-877-GA DHS GO (1-877-423-4746)
    Fax 404-559-4245
    Email: AtlantaCSS@dhr.state.ga.us

    Best of luck to you.

    This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice.... more

Related Topics

Child support

Child support is a payment made from one parent to another parent (usually from non-custodial to custodial), to help ensure the child's financial needs are met.

Child Custody

Child custody involves decisions about who will be responsible for a child, including parental rights, for both married and unmarried parents, and adoptions.

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