I was in a shaky relationship with a guy, we got pregnant and had a baby girl. His name is on her birth certificate and she has his last name. We finally decided to call it quits when she was about 9 months. For 3 months I took her to see him almost every day. He would spend 5 minutes with her and they the next 2 hour arguing with me, while his great-grandmother watched her, because of this I stopped taking her and insisted he come to us (I was living with my mother at the time and felt safer there). He refused to come insisting it was a trap to put him in jail. Never once did he come to visit her. My daughter just recently turned 8 years old and he still hasn't visited her. He has not seen her in 7 years. When she started school they told me that if he decided to pick her up and take her they couldn't stop him without a court order. I live in fear of this everyday. I am just wondering what my options are and what I should do. This has been on my mind for years but I never knew what to do or if I could even afford it.
You do not have sole custody. Your child's father has just as many rights regarding custody as you do. You need to file for custody now. I would suggest you use the "find a lawyer" link above to locate a family law attorney in your area. Some counties also have self-serve clinics, where you "do it yourself," but the clinic staff will help you by giving you the proper forms to fill out and guiding you through the process. Or there may a legal aid clinic where an attorney will be willing to file for you for a nominal fee. Whatever route you decide to do, do it quickly if you are worried about your child's safety.
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