I am n desperate... My children's mother dropped them off over a year and a half ago and hasn't come back to get them. I am their father, however , being that we were never married , I understand NOW that I have no rights to them (i really didn't know that at first).... I've been taking care of them and everything. She's emotionally abusive towards them and have been physically (not in terms of discipline within the law) at times. My daughters are 14 years old. I need to know what my options are if I do go to legitimate them and she refuses to sign the papers... also what constitutes abandonment? and is that an option for me. Because she left them we have no idea where she lives because she moves A LOT she has gone 6 months at one point without even seeing them or even attempting to, and to top it off another four months after that. In between that time she has not sent money, Nor has she attempted to make sure that they were safe and unharmed. Even told them via text that She has taunted my daughters. I found out her treatment of them during their time in her care recently. after they told me. I don't want them going back to her if she's going to cause more damage.
If you want legal rights, go to court and have paternity established. That is a straighforward process and you can find it online. http://csc.georgiacourts.gov/sites/default/files/csc/training/Paternity%20and%20Legitimation%20of%20Child%20Bench%20Card%20V1.2.pdf
Your local court probably has forms for you to use. But if you also want to terminate mom's rights, you should go get a lawyer.
You need to find a lawyer to work with and get started. She will have to be found and served before the court in a legitimacy case can have authority over her. While some are more difficult to find than others, in this day and age it is very difficult to be completely hidden and not subject to being found. It may be difficult to find her, but that changes nothing about what you need to do. If she will not sign off on settlement documents, then the case goes to trial and the judge decides what the deal will be, and that changes nothing about what you need to do.
Let me stress this. Do NOT take a chance, use court forms and do this yourself. If you blow it, and pro se legitimization cases often get to be disasters, you may lose the children and the case. Get a lawyer. It matters. Do legitimization, and any needed followup steps, exactly as the lawyer suggests. That is the best way to get to the best outcome.
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