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Need to know what to do in a custody battle, bio dad with a huge rap sheet is taking us to mediation with a lawyer?

Corona, CA |

My wife had two kids when I met her, they were ages 1 and 2, there bio dad whos not even on there birth certificates and is not even a proven father for them has never provided support in anyway, he was abusive to my wife, has a child endangerment charge, 4 DUI's, has been arrested a bunch of times has sent my wife a letter requiring her to go see a mediator with them. I have supported the kids there lives up until this point they are now 4 and 5. We don't have the money to hire a lawyer, he has a lawyer because his dad is rich and got him one. My question is what if anything can we do in our situation, hes not on the birth certificate and is definately an unfit parent, this is going to do nothing but harm and confuse the kids. What can we do without a lawyer in fighting this situation?

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Attorney answers 2

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Has father filed a Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship? You do not mention if a Court case has been filed. If no case has been filed, your wife has no obligation to meet with anyone.
If father has filed a Petition, your Wife must respond. If father has a court date, and is seeking custody, visitation, your wife must file a FL-320 Form (Response to Order to Show Cause or Notice of Motion). In the Response, be sure to attach the Father's criminal printout (go to the local courthouse, go to criminal window, give father's name and date of birth, they will give you a criminal printout) attach the printout to the FL-320 form so the Judge knows for sure this guy has a criminal history. Should overcome hearsay problem because it is a governmental document. Criminal history is a public record. This is not something the Judge can do for you, you must do it yourself. The local courthouse will only have the county convictions, so if he has lived outside California or your county, you will have to do an internet seach and pay money. Local courthouse is free.
Until there is a finding that he is the father, he is not legally entitled to visitation as he is an unknown adult male.
You can seek help at the Self-help centers at the Courthouse.
It sounds like she may need legal representation. But right now, the most important thing will be to get the criminal history before the Judge. Sometimes, the printouts will show outstanding warrants, or upcoming criminal trial dates. Read it carefully. This might be your most powerful tool.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship


This can get nasty. Problem for you is that if dad establishes paternity, the court is likely to allow him some form of contact with the kids on a regular basis going forward. Might be supervised, might not. He and his lawyer will show up, claim that he's seen the light and wants to get his act together and be superdad. A judge isn't going to stand in his way. You can, however, punch pack and hit him with a child support order. That won't fix the problem, but at least it'll put some money towards raising the kids.

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