my girlfriend and i live with my mom with our 7 month baby girl.She continues to take our daughter to her mothers over night regardless of my disapproval. Im on the birth certificate as her father. Neither of us work and im on the tanif grant due to me fileing for ssi. Do i have legal grounds to say i would like to spend the weekend with our daughter instead of my girlfriend demanding her to go with her?”
Apparently you and your girlfriend are still in a relationship. What Jay is referring to is when the parents of the child break up and the court is asked to decide who gets custody and set a parenting time schedule that gives the non-custodial parent time with the child. I don't really know of a situation where parents that are still living together request the court's assistance to establish parenting time. It sounds like, if you want to stay in this relationship, you need to have a serious talk with your girlfriend and explain that her behavior is damaging your relationship. Couples counseling might be a good idea.
Also, the format here on Avvo doesn't really give the attorneys responding a chance to know the complete story. First of all, we don't know why you are applying for SSI. We don't know why you and your girlfriend live with your mother. Also if you truly live together, why is your girlfriend going over to her mother's house "overnight". I am not really looking for you to answer these questions here on Avvo - in fact it is better that you do not discuss this in a public forum on the internet. Probably you should make an appointment to consult with an attorney and try to sort the matter out privately.
The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.
Many people believe that mothers have all the rights in deciding what happens with their children, and fathers have none. These people are all wrong.
By 'default,' in the state of Oregon, both of a child's parents have equal legal custody rights in their children. If the parents can't agree on how to raise their child, either of them has the right to file a petition with the county circuit court, asking for a custody judgment. There are two related issues to child custody cases: legal custody, and parenting time.
'Legal custody' refers to decision-making authority over a child. A parent with legal custody decides where a child goes to school and what religion they observe, makes medical decisions for the child, and so on. Parents can agree to joint legal custody, sharing this authority, but a court will not order joint custody unless the parents agree to it.
'Parenting time' refers to where a child lives each day, and how their time is divided between their parents. Each custody case ends with a parenting plan describing where the child or children stay. These plans can be as specific or general as the parents need. The parents are free to deviate from the plan if they agree to do so, but the plan is there for when they can't agree. The harder it is for two parents to agree on these issues, the more important it is that the plan be clear and specific. Even a parent who doesn't get legal custody of a child can get substantial parenting time.
Under Oregon law, decisions about legal and physical custody are made according to the best interests of the children. Obviously that's a bit vague, but the law sets forth a few standards for determining the best interests of the children:
The most commonly followed guiding principle is that a child should remain with the parent who spent most time with them before -- the "primary custodial parent." In our society, that is more often the mother, but not always. The law also presumes that it is in the best interests of the children to have an ongoing relationship and continuing contact with both of their parents. If the court must decide which parent is awarded primary legal and physical custody, it is more likely to grant it to the parent who has shown that they will encourage an ongoing relationship between the children and the other parent. Parents should not try to keep their children away from each other, unless one parent has clearly been abusing the children. So just taking the child and leaving would be the worst thing you (either of you) can do, from a legal standpoint.
Oregon law explicitly does not consider the lifestyle choices of each parent in child custody decisions, except as it affects the welfare of the children. Judges do not want to hear parents attacking each other in court; the focus is on the children, not on each person's faults.
Ultimately, the only 'rights' that ever mean anything are those you can enforce. If you and your girlfriend can't come to an agreement informally between you, then your only recourse is to file a petition with the court. This is a lawsuit, and it rarely makes the relationship between co-parents better; so you want to be sure you only do this as a last resort and that you've exhausted your other options. If you mean to do this, you should consult with an attorney in private.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or solicit business. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. Information not contained in these posts may create significant exceptions to the advice provided in any response. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br>
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