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What options does a father in Minnesota have on getting custody/parenting time of his daughster whom her mother has moved to TX?

Litchfield, MN |

My sister gave birth to her daughter in MN. Her and the father were never married. She moved with her daughter to TX. Now my niece no longer lives with my sister, she has no room, bed or clothes at my sisters house. She is living with my mother. My niece and mom ate coming to MN or a visit, is there anything that dad can do while she is here to take custody of her? What are his options on getting custody of my niece? He is a good dad. My sister has never done nothing more than emotionally abuse my niece and fail at providing her with guidance and direction. I can vouch for this myself after seeing it myself for years. I just want to see my niece in good hands, and believe that if that can be one of her parents than it should be. Neither of us knows where to start on this issue. Thanks

Attorney Answers 4


Hello. The person facing this legal issue is in need of detailed private attorney counsel. Many more details need to be known, questions asked and answered, etc.


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As the other attorney stated, the father is the one that needs to seek legal counsel in this situation. That being said, the first and biggest issue is a jurisdictional issue. Based on the limited information given above if the child is only in MN for a visit and lives in Texas the rest of the time, the father may have to file any motion for custody in Texas. If that is the case the father would have to look into hiring an attorney who practices in Texas. I suggest the father has an attorney review his situation, so he or she can give a better answer to this question. Good Luck!

Tim Coulter

This response if for informational purposes only and is not creating a attorney-client relationship. An attorney client relationship only occurs after a retainer has been signed.

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I suggest father contact a MN family law attorney before the visit to discuss the situation and possible options. If he has to pursue a legal action, he's likely going to want a lawyer anyway.

Disclaimer: This email message in no way creates an attorney client relationship between Majeski Law, LLC and the recipient. Responses are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. You should consult a lawyer regarding any specific legal matter.

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The father has a problem - it doesn't appear that he has ever gone to court to obtain a COURT order granting any kind of legal or physical custody over the child. An unmarried mother has sole legal and physical custody of the child at birth, and unless the father does something to get some rights, he has none. Add to that the fact that the child and mother are, apparently, residents of the State of Texas. I think he's going to have to travel to TX and start a custody proceeding there - MN courts don't, in my opinion based upon what you've posted, have jurisdiction over the child (just because the child is here on a visit doesn't convey jurisdiction). The father is going to have to prove (a) paternity, (b) that the mother is unfit, and (c) that a return to Minnesota is necessary for the welfare of the child. He's going to have a tough time proving all that. Your claims of "emotional abuse" aren't very compelling, and he'll need more than that to overcome the presumption that the mother retains custody.

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