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Unmarried father in CA looking for custody options and rights advise. I pay 90%+ to bills food and essentials. son is 1yrs old

Merced, CA |

She takes him out of state every couple of months for a couple of months to be with her family. So I have only been able to see him for about 7 months out of the year. I work and go to school. if we separate she will live in other state and I will stay in CA. I love my son very much and would rather things work out between the both of us but she refuses to work on things. She does some questionable things small drug use and unfaithful actions. son was born in CA. I want to take an active role in his life by what ever means.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    You have what is called a "Paternity" case--meaning that you and the mother of your child are unmarried. What you need to do is file a Paternity Action in order to establish a custody and visitation schedule. Filing the Paternity Action will also prevent her from leaving the state of California without your consent or a Court Order. My fear is that she may eventually decide to leave the state to be closer to her family. If you wait until that happens, then you will have a much weaker case than if you begin the process now and establish a custody and visitation schedule as well as a child support order.

    With regard to child support, what you need to know is that child support in the state of California is calculated based on a mathematical formula and is largely based on 2 factors: 1) the amount of time each parent spends with the child, and 2) the relative incomes of both parents. It is impossible to say without additional facts whether the amount you are already paying is more or less than what guideline child support will be.

    I suggest that you begin educating yourself on the law, and speak with an experienced family law attorney to assist you in beginning your Paternity Action. I am including links below which may be of some help. Good luck to you!

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button or "Best Answer" at the bottom of this answer. By answering this question, the Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton does not intend to form an attorney-client relationship with the asking party. The answers posted on this website should not be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton does not make any representations about your family law matter, but rather, seeks to provide general information to the public about family-law related matters. You should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case. Thank you.


  2. You can make this easy for your spouse, or difficult. The drug use, if brought to the court's attention would certainly make a difference. Aside from the legal issues raised, would your infant son be safe with someone doing drugs? You can certainly seek physical custody of your son, a custody evaluation may be helpful to you in this case.

    Disclaimer: Ms. Kermani is an attorney licensed to practice in California. This post does not constitute legal advice, should not be relied upon as such, and does not create an attorney client relationship. Since each solution is fact specific, please consult an attorney and provide them with all the facts and documents at issue. Only then can you receive legal advice tailored to your specific situation.

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