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Do I have full custody of my child, if the biological father isn't present?

Los Angeles, CA |

My child is three years old and her biological father doesn't attempt looking for her. Do I automatically gain full custody of my child, if her biological father isn't present? I've been a single mother for three years, he also wasn't in the picture when I was pregnant. He's aware he has a child with me, he also know's where I live. He never looks for her.

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Attorney answers 2


This is a tricky question. You do have custody of your child, but there's no document or court order saying that you have full custody of your daughter - so for example, if you want to travel out of the country, you don't have the authority to without the consent of her biological father. My recommendation would be to file a Paternity Action and have bio dad served with it. A paternity action will enable you to establish custody and child support for a child born outside the marriage. You will do your child a favor by establishing who her father is biologically and legally and you may be able to collect some child support. Now on the flip side, when you open the paternity door, you do give bio dad certain rights b/c legally its established he's the father now.

Hope that helps. Best of luck,

-Sanjay Paul

This is not legal advice. No attorney client relationship exists between us.


No, if he shows up and files a paternity action, he would likely get some visitation,

My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced 39+ yrs. I can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practicein Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. I give only appointments over the phone., these services do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend as I do not believe in pulling punches or sugar coating the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ and I would appreciate it if you feel like marking my answers helpful or best. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are court documents , less expensive.

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