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Chances of Daughters dad getting joint custody?

Santa Clara, CA |

Hello, my daughters father has filed for joint custody. He has seen her five times in the whole 5 years of her life. He has not seen her, not because I dont let him but because since my daughter turned 3 years old, he never made the effort anymore. My child knows who her dad is, and I even have baby pictures of her and him. I had her as a teen, and I am sure people make mistakes and eventually some people change, that is what he filed in his petition. He says that "he has changed" he is in gangs, he has tattoos on his face that frighten my daughter. She is scared of him and the last time he tried calling me to talk to her, she started crying. He is a danger to her, he has has been in jail for drugs. What can I do for him to get court visitations or not get custody?

please help

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

Quite frankly, I can't imagine anything is more important to you in your life than your daughter. Treat this as nothing other than a medical emergency situation, i.e. you need heart surgery or brain surgery. It's my belief with good experienced, competent counsel you have a very strong position. At least for the present, the Court tends to perpetuate the status quo. You have historically been the parent and he's become the virtual stranger. He's been to jail for drugs. You should request the Court Mediator and the Judge to require him to submit to random drug testing. In addition, he has no involvement in the upbringing ot your child. He needs to also successfully complete parenting classes before he can spend any real time with your daughter. If your daughter has the maturity to form her own independent decisions in regard to what her preferences are make a point of scheduling her to also meet with the mediator before you go to court. While the law does not say the Judge has to listen to the child, nevertheless, the court must be aware of the child's preferences. Normally, this is done through the mediation process. Although, at five years old she is probably a little too young. It just depends on if she has a very high level of maturity. It may be worth a try. As Ms. Johns stated has paternity been established? Quite frankly, you have too much at risk and you don't want any bizarre unusual mistakes to happen and I too would strongly suggest that you employ a very experienced family law attorney to guide you through this process and do whatever is necessary to protect your daughter's legal rights.


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I thank you for your help, but also understanding that it is very important, and it is to protect my child!!


I'm sorry that you're going through this. Yes, it does sound scary and, as a parent, I would be concerned.

Realistically, it would be very helpful for you to hire a lawyer) you probbly lready knew that).

1) Has paternity been established?

2) What are his reasons for wanting joint custody? Do you have a court date and a mediation date? You will be required to attend mediation and that is, one of the places, here you can present your case. Just because he says that he's changed, doesn't mean that it's true.

3) I would really suggest that you hire a lawyer who can help you present the facts of your case in a compelling way.



Yes paternity has been established, it said it on the form that I was served with. Today, I was able to collect all of his criminal records and he has an intense record of violence. I have also scheduled to meet with an attorney, I do have a set court date and mediation as well. Thank You so much for your help! You give me hope that I can, with the help of an attorney prove he is a danger to my child

Hillary Johns

Hillary Johns


You're very welcome. It's good that you're taking action.


In the abstract a parent has a good chance of establishing meaningful custody with a child if they have the patience to participate in the legal process and they don't have significant and active problems.

The attorney is correct that NOW is the time to talk with a local attorney because the beginning of the case is the best time to establish that the other parent is stable and has a long-term interest in your child.

Good luck.

The advice provided is general in nature and is not based on any confidential communication or information provided by the requesting party. To receive complete and specific legal advice you should consult personally with an attorney in your area.


Don’t get ahead of yourself. You need to at least meet with a lawyer to discuss the process and what to expect. Dad will need reunification and perhaps supervised visits. So, even if he does re-establish a relationship, it won’t be over night and it will allow your child time to adjust.

The public policy of the State of California is to protect the best interests of children whose parents have a custody or visitation matter within the family courts. Sometimes, based on issues of protection and safety, a judge will decide that in order for a child to have contact with a parent, a neutral third person must be present during any visitation. This type of third-person visitation arrangement is often called “supervised visitation”.
A judge may order supervised visitation for many reasons, like:

to give the visiting parent a chance to address specific issues,
to help reintroduce a parent and after a long absence,
to help introduce a parent and a child when there has been no existing relationship between the parent and the child,
when there is a history or allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, or substance abuse;
when there are parenting concerns or mental illness; or
when there is a parental threat of abduction.

The court order will specify the time and duration of the visits. Sometimes, the court order will also specify who the provider is to be and where the visits are to take place.

Best of luck to you.

Attorney Rebekah Ryan Main

If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.



Thank You so much for your general advice!

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