Unfortunately, I hear about situations like yours a lot.
As an unmarried woman who gave birth to a child, unless a court of competent jurisdiction has awarded the father right to custody and/or visitation, he has no right to see the child, except at your discretion.
There is a common incorrect belief that a father who wants nothing to do with his child can "sign over" his rights, or that his rights can be terminated because he does not choose to see his child.
While a court of competent jurisdiction "can" terminate a parent's rights, it is unlikely to do so in a situation like yours (where one parent is responsible and taking adequate care of the child) unless the custodial parent has married, the biological parent has effectively abandoned the child (non-support and non-contact for the statutory period) and the spouse is willing to adopt the child and undertake the parental responsibility.
The rationale for this unwillingness to sever the parent/child relationship is that if the State terminates the father's rights and you become unable to care for the child, the state, having relieved the biological parent of his responsibility of support, must undertake the full burden of care.
So long as no court has granted him the right to visitation, you are within your right as an unmarried woman who gave birth to refuse contact. If the father brings an action for custody and/or visitation, you will have the opportunity to present evidence that the father is unsafe to be around the child or that any visitation should be supervised.
The above information is shared for educational and discussion purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is intended or established through your reliance on the information provided. If your legal rights could be impacted by using this information, you are urged to seek legal counsel before taking action.
It is difficult to determine from your question if your "ex" ever legitimized your son (signed the birth certificate) or if parentage (paternity) was established by filing an action in the Juvenile Court of the County of your residence to establish who is the legal father of your son. As the previous answer indicated, if there has been no adjudication by the Juvenile Court to establish the legal rights of the father, he has none! Simply, that means any contact or communication would be voluntary on your part. If legal rights were established then you must comply with the Court order unless you file a Motion with the Court to restrict the father's legal rights (you will need to consult with an experienced local attorney to determine if and how this should be done). Some possible restrictions would include requesting supervised visitation (typically at a court or designated location). Further, you may want to consider both filing a motion and seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem (a legal guardian to represent your son) to investigate matters, report to the Court and make recommendations concerning the "best interest of your son". However, it is absolutely correct that the Courts are reluctant to extinguish the legal rights of a parent. Clearly, from the information you have provided having the assistance of legal counsel and seeking to implement safeguards to protect your son make sense. I urge you to contact a qualified attorney in your community to explore your legal rights and remedies. Good Luck!
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS POSTED ARE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS CREATING AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. SPECIFIC QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED WITH A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY OF YOUR CHOOSING.
I am sorry, but you did sleep with this guy in order to have a child with him. That makes him the father. He may be a bad father, and he may never have much a relationship with his son, but we consider biology to be determinative and therefore he is the father.
I do not understand how you are sparring your child heartbreak by looking to deny him a father. And legally he is the father as you mention child support - if it is ordered to be paid then he is legally the father. But legally being the father does not automatically give him any rights to his child, just a ability to establish rights via the court system.
He is not doing anything in spite or to piss you off, as there is no legal action that he can just go to court and sign his rights away short of another man adopting the child. It is urban myth that you can walk away from your rights. Think about it, if a guy could go sign away his rights and not be the father, then why do thousand of men go to jail each year for not paying child support if all they needed to do was sign away their rights and no longer have to pay child support.
To change the name, you have to go to probate court and follow the procedures to legally change a name.
This answer is being provided as general advice only and is not to be relied upon for specific circumstances. By answering the question, no attorney-client relationship is created. As for any matter, it is best to seek consultation in person with an attorney who practices in the area of law in which you are inquiring.
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