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Father wants full custody. What can I do to avoid that from happening?

Elizabeth, NJ |

Father wants full custody of my 1 year old. We went to a mediator and are waiting for results of DNA test. Mediator acted as if I was withholding his fatherly rights when I always let him see his daughter when he wanted. I did not get a chance to say anything and I feel as if I am being judged by the mediator. The father of my daughter always harasses me and degrades me and threatens me whenever he did came to see his daughter. Now I am letting him see her on the weekends (he works all week) and he wants me to bring her and pick her up. The mediator said no overnights and he gets her from 8am to 7pm. Her father however is now demanding to see her on Friday and the visits are whatever times he wants not the time the mediator gave. I would like to know what are my rights? Do I have to agree?

Attorney Answers 1

  1. If there is an existing court order in place with respect to custody and parenting time, both parties must abide by it. If he is not abiding by it by, for example, not returning your daughter on the day and time he is supposed to, you not only should file an application to enforce the order, but you should contact local law enforcement in order to assist you in enforcing it.

    You do not have to agree to anything you do not want to agree to and you do not have to do anything or allow any kind of visitation that you do not want unless and until it is an order of the court. What the mediator recommends is just a recommendation and is not binding unless and until it becomes a court order signed by a judge.

    In order for the father to obtain full custody, he would have to make an application with the court. There is a presumption in favor of joint legal custody (when both parties are fit parents) and joint physical custody, with one parent as the primary residential parent and the other as the alternate residential parent. There is a presumption against “full custody,” so it would likely be extremely difficult for the father to succeed on an application for full custody especially when, as it stands right now, he does not even have overnights with the child. In order for the father to obtain “full custody,” he would have to demonstrate that that is what is in the best interests of the child and that is not easy to do.

    Custody and parenting time are complicated areas of law and you should consult with an experienced family attorney to find out what your, his and your child’s rights are.

    You should immediately contact an attorney well-versed in this area. You should consider an attorney or law firm that concentrates in these areas of law so you will receive the expertise necessary for your issues.

    Brad Micklin, Esq.
    The Micklin Law Group
    187 Washington Ave.
    Nutley, New Jersey

    Please mark as "Helpful" or "Best Answer" if our advice helped you. This information is based upon the limited facts you presented. My advice is based on New Jersey law and may be different if I find that the facts presented are different. Additionally, this answer does not contain any confidential information nor does it create any attorney/client relationship.

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