What are chances of a father getting sole custody of child in Family Court? They were never married but have paternity papers

Asked 5 months ago - Islip, NY

Custody was shared but dad was always primary caregiver (mom works days & dad works overnights).
Mom took daughter out of dad's care in May, moved 25 minutes further away (they were already living about 20 minutes apart), put her in a day care without his consent and filed for custody. Dad cross-petitioned for custody 2mo. later. Mom allowed almost no contact between dad and child until temp. court order was issued. Mom has a criminal record w/separate arrests, a few years ago for menacing & dom. violence. Mom has claimed in writing that her live-in boyfriend bruises her. (I think abuse goes both ways) CPS investigated home but report was unfounded. Child, 5yrs, told law guardian she wants to live w/mother. Dad wants custody & child out of that home/situation & visitation for mom.

Additional information

Mother also has moved three times in under three years. There were also some prior medical neglect issues by mother, which were recently uncovered. He would gladly agree to joint legal but definitely wants physical custody of his daughter (and he would still agree to give mother child support, so this isn't about him getting/saving money) and awarding mother visitation. He would like to proceed with a hearing but is being told by his lawyer that he will likely lose because the mother has had physical custody the last few months, she has been "behaving", has not violated temp order, and the daughter (who is 5) said she wants to live with her mother. How could the courts and law guardian completely overlook the history here? As soon as the mother is no longer under the watchful eye of everyone and the court case is closed, the mother will go back to her old antics.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Bruce Provda

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There are no guarantees in any hearing and it would be useless to predict with only the facts available. If you think it is the best iinterest of your child to be in your custody, you should fight for that. You will have a better chance if you consult an attorney.

  2. Peter Christopher Lomtevas

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Dad loses because the court will go with the illusion that mom is the primary caretaker. The mother took the proper steps to give the impression that she has the child. Dad allowed the removal because he "took no action".

    Good luck.

  3. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Unfortunately, it is generally quite meaningless to guess "what the chances are" of an outcome of a court proceeding. There are two reasons for this:

    First, we don't know enough about the case. All we know is what you've written here, and presumably, the other person involved would give a very different version of events than you would. A judge hearing a case hears both sides, and tries to give equal weight to both. The less information one has about a case, the harder it is to predict what will happen - and all we know here is what you've written.

    Second - single-event probabilities are arguably logically meaningless. Consider this: Suppose I said you have a 75% chance of winning the case. Would you feel reassured? And, suppose I said that, and you lost. Would I have been wrong? Probabilities are meaningful only when you are considering a lot of similar events - but legal cases are all so different that it's hard to draw valid comparisons.

    Conventional wisdom tells us that fathers face an uphill battle in child custody cases, due to long-standing sexist prejudices that hold that women are - or should be - the parents primarily responsible for child care. And that is often how cases turn out - more or less often, depending on what part of the country you're in - but it's not predetermined.

    To best increase your chances in a court case, you should consult in private with an attorney in your area. I realize that isn't the most helpful advice, but I do believe it's the best.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more

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