February 07, 2010,
D.P. asks from Alamo, CA on February 05, 2010
Splitting with Father of My Child, Not Married, Need to Know Rights...
'm more than likely going to be splitting up with the father of our 7 month old daughter. We're both really unhappy. I've been putting it off because both him and his mother are insanely aggressive and I know there will be a major battle. I've tried to break up with him in the past and there have been threats made about taking his daughter, etc. His mother is very traditional Italian ( I have nothing against this, I'm part myself, just not as extreme) and she thinks that since we have a child together, we need to be married and be together, happy or not. Apparently I just need to change who I am for her son and kiss the ground he walks on. We had only dated a few months before I got pregnant, so there are many things that have come out since then and I've realized we are not the right people for each other. I don't feel we should both be unhappy, nor do I want to raise our daughter in this kind of negative environment. He seems content to just fake it and pretend that everything is fine, I'm not willing to do it any longer and I just assume get it over with now, while the baby is too young to know better. What I want to know, is what sort of rights will he have. I want him to be involved in her life, he is a good dad, however I'm the provider. He hasn't had a legal job since I've known him, he's currently working for my family, which will soon be over and he's made no attempt since the baby came to try and find a real job. I'm still breastfeeding, will be for as long as possible. If he doesn't pay child support, does he still have rights? Also, what are the typical schedules like? Can they force me to pump so they can take her over night? He will more than likely move back home with his parents, which is a hour away from where I live. Right now she can only be away from me for a maximum of 4 hours, how will that work? And does anyone know a good family attorny in the area? I would like to avoid the court battles and hope that he and his family can play nice, but I don't think that will be the case. His mother was just crying over the fact that she only gets to see the baby on the weekends and thinks the baby won't know her. Any help or advice would be greatly sappreciated. How do I file for custody????
So What Happened?™
Ok, so I did break up with him and he immediately made things nasty. He wanted to take her for the night, said he would just put her on formula. We have both done our best to raise her as "green" and natural as possible and I'm a firm believer of "breast it best" and will not be bullied into formula. As I said before, he is a good father, I have no desire to keep her from him, however this baby has literally not left my side for more than a couple hours since I got pregnant, I fear that changing this drastically could be devestating for her. He thinks that there should be no issue, he just gets her 50% and I get her 50%. Please understand, he does work, he makes damn good money, he just never seems to have any of it. He is currently making $25 cash from my parents, however this job will be ending in the next couple week and he has nothing lined up. He does construction, which is not good in this economy. When he works, he usually gets $30 or more a hour, all cash, but it is not uncommon for him to have no work for weeks at a time, so there is no consistent source of money. I don't know where all his money goes, but i do know he has a lot of debt and really bad credit. He doesn't even have a vehicle he can drive her in. If he was to get 50% custody, she would not be with him, she would be essentially be raised by his mother, his mother who cannot have a job b/c she has a rreally bad back and suffers from random dizzy spells. She would be with her all day why he worked, where with me she would actually be with a parent, me I do want him to have custody, I don't want sole, but I'm thinking more like weekends, not weeks.
A.T. answers from Stockton on February 07, 2010
If you live in the Bay Area there are Family Law clinics in most counties that can help you on a sliding scale basis. File for custody right away and talk to an attorney about getting a restraining order if things get too hot to handle. I know there's a clinic in Redwood City and one in Marin too, a friend used to work there. Anything your ex claims to be his right - demand that he PROVE it. You have a right to child support so tell him to he needs to get his act together.
BTW - tell Daddio that I just tried to get my daughter to drink from a bottle (2months old) and she wouldn't for 3 weeks of trying every day - I finally had to let her get HUNGRY for her to take it. Now I'm trying to get her to take formula and she will drink 1/2 oz. formula IF it's mixed with 2.5 oz. of breastmilk. So, it's not so simple as just popping a bottle in your daughter's mouth. he'd be in for a LOOOONNNNGGGG night if he thinks he can just take her out of the blue.
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S.B. answers from Redding on February 06, 2010
I went through something similar with my first child. It is a really tough situation.
The very first thing I was advised to do was to file for custody. My daughter's father and I weren't married, and as her mother, I didn't automatically have custody of her. Technically, no one did. Trust me, in this instance, you want to be the first to file. He will get to respond and argue or propose what he thinks is best, but you want to be the petitioner.
I would definitelly try to find a good family law attorney. You should have a local Legal Aide office than can help get you a referral and tell you the papers you need. (I filed all of mine myself).
Things did get ugly. My daughter's grandparents tried to have her taken away from me and they asked for specific grandparent visitation rights. Neither was successful.
You'll be sent to mediation where they will try to help the two of you come to a custody and visitation arrangement that is in the child's best interest. They will also let you know if either of you are being unreasonable in your demands. Being that your child is so young, they may have you start out slowly with the visitation schedules. Sometimes they will advise checking back in perhaps in 6 months to see how things are going.
Talk to someone about getting custody established right away. That will start the ball rolling as far as visitation, support, etc.
Don't be bullied by baby's grandmother. Surely, she will take her son's side, but she is not the baby's mother. My daughter's father worked for the family business and grandma got in trouble for refusing to disclose his income for child support purposes. My daughter's father didn't want our daughter, he just didn't want to pay child support and even tried saying he wasn't the father. Once an order for support is established, if he doesn't pay, that amount just keeps adding up and they charge 10% interest.
You can't refuse to let him see the baby if he doesn't pay child support, but him not doing so doesn't really look very good.
Take a deep breath and start calling first thing Monday to find someone who can help you file the custody papers. You're not doing it out of spite. In this situation there are two unmarried people and a minor child involved. You providing for her and her living with you does not mean you have custody.
I will keep you in my thoughts and I certainly wish you the very best! Hang in there!
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B.K. answers from Chicago on February 05, 2010
I had a similar situation. Me and my ex-boyfriend have a son who is 2 1/2 yo. After a 10 year relationship that wasn't going anywhere, just a lot of arguing we split up and he moved out when our son was 7 mos. old. It was one of the best decisions I made. I didn't want to expose my son to a negative environment also. We have an oral agreement on the child support and so far he has kept his end of the bargain. We also put our differences aside and he comes and visits our child often. They are crazy about each other. Our son lives with me and I am the sole caretaker. I make all the decisions where our son is concerned, although at times I do talk to him about some of them. Now we have a pleasant relationship and our son gets to know both of his parents. I'm not going to involve the courts unless he stops payments or we can't agree on visitation. We also visit his mother from time to time so she gets to know her grandson. So far so good. My advise is to try to work out something between you two first, see if that works. If not then you will have to involve the courts. Good luck and best wishes to you and your baby. Take care, Bernie
S.J. answers from St. Louis on February 05, 2010
I am a practicing family law attorney, and I cannot stress to you enough how very important it is for you to obtain a good lawyer in your area to help you through this. Most states use "the best interest of the child" standard, and using that, most judges think that father's involvement is good and shoudn't be dependent upon his ability or unwillingness to pay child support. But, there are so many "if"s and "buts" and "maybes" that go along with your situation, which is why you should seek the advice of legal counsel.
Ask friends for a recommendation on a family law attorney.
This post was in no way intended to provide legal advice.
I wish you the best of luck, as I know this is a tough time for a mom.
D.Z. answers from Yuba City on February 06, 2010
I really hope you read all my response, as it won't be popular, but I feel it is worth sharing. I know you want the best for your baby. That is evident. Sometimes we don't recognize what is truly best because we are caught up in emotions and what we personally want, so take a step back and see if you can look at your situation from an outsiders point of view.
We are adults, as adults we need to take responsibility for our choices. Sex outside of marriage is not a good idea. Two adults who have taken time to know each other, putting good sense before sexual pleasure can better decide how they should be connected. Now we have a baby born into a rocky relationship who has no control over her little world. All of these consequences that she bears are dependent on what you & her faher decide. Regardless of your opinion of him right now, you have to believe there is some good in him otherwise she would not be so wonderful. She is 1/2 him and the more you tear him down, go after him or try to keep her from him, you are doing that harm to her. Try to remember that whatever you do in this life, she will have a connection with him that you can do nothing about, thus you will always be connected to him, this is a consequence you chose.
What you really need to know now is you can make decisions now how to move forward. Courts will decide about custody issues and child support. Remember, you are the one working, the judge could order him more custody and you have to pay. Be very careful what you try to "get out of him", as it could backfire in this day & age. What if the judge ruled that sense he can be home with the child and you are the provider, then he gets 60% custody and you pay him?
Try to work things out, take the court mediation, be reasonable. Since he isn't working, can he watch her during the day while you work and you get her overnight, so there is no childcare payment? Should she be part breastfed and part formula? It may come to that. But know that she will be fine if that is the case. Accept responsibility that you two chose this for her, The children always are the ones who lose when the parents refuse to commit to each other. At lease commit to her that you will not ruin him in the "name of love".
There are relationship classes available across the state that just maybe you two can go to to try and salvage this relationship. I divorced then remarried the same man, so I'm not just blowing smoke. I couldn't have cared if he died, in fact, that would have been easier than the child custody/support issues. But I'm glad I put down my own personal emotions and made a decision to take some classes, get some counseling (ours was a local church) and put our lives back together for our daughter's sake. We now have 4 more children who would not exist had I not done that. It may sound impossible right now, but play out the next 18 years in your mind, best scenarios and worst, you may find that I'm not quite as crazy as I sound.
Good luck to your daughter, and to you. I really hope you can truly do what is best for her, but it will take work and you will not feel like doing it. Anything worth having is worth the work to get there.
R.K. answers from San Francisco on February 06, 2010
although i am not answering your question, i want to extend my best wishes and thoughts to you...remember to be good to yourself through all this and stay strong. good for ou for getting out of an unhappy relationship! your child will be better off.
N.S. answers from San Francisco on February 07, 2010
You can file papers yourself for custody and child support. He can also ask for 50/50 custody and won't have to pay anything. My sons father didn't have a job. Courts kept having us come back and he had to report that he was looking. He found a job for a short time. Hasn't worked since and now he owes more that 25k. The courts have not done anything about that. Tables didn't turn on me to where I would have to pay him because I was not working either, my husband was, but it has nothing to do with him. But I have heard of that happening. I was going for full custody because of some of the things that he was doing. He had my son sleep in the car with him and that drew the last straw there. But he was not even seeing him as much either.
If you are breast feeding, they will make you pump. He still will have the right to see her even if he is not paying. My sons father gave up interest in seeing him and didn't bother calling as much anymore. Visitation will be based on what you can both come to an agreement on through a mediator. We never went through that because the dad never showed up and the courts still did nothing about that. We did have our own agreement of him have our son every wed. and every other weekend. it worked for a while, but like I said, his dad lost interest and was going thru some stuff that I kept my son for his safety and the dad never complained about it. They won't make you be the only one doing the dropping off and picking up, so he will have to find a way to help. He will also have to provide health insurance for her.
His mother getting to see the baby every weekend is a lot. my kids gparents don't see them that much and my kids know and love them all very much and all the more excitement to see them. But she will have to see your baby during his visitations. I would also avoid talking or explaining anything to his family. This is btw you and him, so only talk to him about things. But if you can't agree on something yourselves then I would go and apply soon, and if it starts to get ugly then get an attorney. Most of the time, the fathers just act like this because they are angry and they want to scare us or find a way to hurt us. That's what happen with me anyway, but i put my foot down and boy did he back down and the tables turned, he was afraid of what I was going to do. Good luck and I hope things work out for you and your baby.
C.T. answers from Detroit on February 05, 2010
Freind of the court ihate to say it but sneak down there and get the ball rolling! petition the courts and tell then you want sole custody and any threats that are made try to tape them so that when you need to go to court you have back up. friend of the court WILL HELP YOU!