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What type of legal actions or steps should I take to keep sol custudy?

Baldwin, NY |

My daughters father has not been in her life since she was one year old. Nor is he on her birth certificate. He was in jail when she was born, he has been on and off drugs. The past year hes been telling me he has been talking to a lawyer and trying to get paper work to get visitation rights what do you think I should do I don't want him in her life i never asked him for any child support I feel her has anger issues he has threatened me and my family in the past. Do you think i should seek legal help or should i wait till he serves me with papers of some sort but mind you like i said he is not on her birth certificate so wouldn't he have to prove he is the father first? I want to make sure that i have sol custody of her and if by chance he did get visitation he would have supervised visit

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You should probably seek the assistance of a Family Law attorney in Nassau County to anticipate a custody or visitation petition. I take it there is no current Family Court order awarding you custody or naming the father in a paternity matter. It is possible that the father could petition for visitation and even shared custody, but it is unlikely he will get custody, based on what you are saying, since that would not be "in the best interests of the child". However, he might be able to get supervised visitation.

Much will depend on the kinds of threats he's made in the past and how recently and how much he's appeared to have "reformed" since his brushes with the law and use of drugs. Visitation, if any is granted, will almost certainly be required to be supervised. He will have to prove paternity as part of these proceedings, but that isn't difficult now because of inexpensive DNA testing.

Still, instead of awaiting papers being served, I'd get out in front of the issue and at least be prepared by consulting an attorney. The strategic issue of whether to apply for custody now rather than waiting to see if and when the father does it is something you should discuss, because the filing of a custody petition will probably require that the father be given notice of the court proceeding and an opportunity to appear.

Hope this helps. Good luck to you!

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Asker

Posted

Thank you for your quick response! That was heplful thanks for your advice!

Asker

Posted

Do I not have sole costody for her? I would have to apply for sole custody even though He is not of the birth certificate

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Posted

No you have sole custody now simply because you do, without a court order. The father could apply for joint legal custody (over major decisions) or shared/joint physical custody, visitation, or even sole physical custody, but he'd be highly unlikely to be awarded any kind of physical custody given what you've said. Supervised visitation and joint legal custody MAYBE (and the latter only if he's cleaned up his act, wants to take parenting classes, etc.). If he's still using, or is capable of abuse or neglect or making threats, probably he'll have no rights, and you may even want to get an order of protection making him stay away and not contact you or the child for the time being. That's why I'm suggesting you see an attorney and carefully work through all the "variables" and "scenarios" here. The family court has a lot of flexibility. Also, if he does admit paternity, he'll most likely have to pay some kind of child support until the child reaches the age of 21.

Posted

All of your goals here can be accomplished. Prepare to defend a Petition for Visitation and/or Custody just to be on the safe side.

You would be well-served to discuss your dilemma with a New York domestic relations attorney in a confidential forum as soon as possible.

Posted

If you want to take pre-emptive action, you may seek a protective order because of the threats if they rise to the level of harassment. Coupled with the other negative factors you state about him, it would make it more difficult for him to obtain joint custody and perhaps visitation. You should consult an attorney to discuss you alternatives.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.

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