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Never married mother wants to know how father can file custody papers without a DNA test or paternity affadavit

Your Question:
Father never completed paternity affidavit at hospital and is not listed on birth certificate, but has apparently completed documents for shared parenting, wanting everything to be 50/50 including custody, which I oppose.

I have not received the papers yet, but he states he wants shared(50/50) custody - rotating the years and also wants 3 days 1 week & 4 days the next. We never completed the paternity affidavit at the time of her birth nor is he listed on her birth certificate. How is it possible to 1st start off filling out papers for joint custody when you are not “legally” determined the father?

I'm opposed to the 50/50 sharing as he does not have the knowledge literally to care for a child. He decided to become involved a month before she was due, he hasn't helped me take care of her financially or even emotionally. He hasn’t bought any diapers or formula.

The reason I oppose the shared custody is due to his inability to care for her, I mean he doesn't know how to make bottles, bathe her or anything in these matters. I have tried to teach him, but he snaps at me. He has failed to go to her dr’s appointments. For the 1st week of her life he could not spend time with her due to his emotional state. His mother had to give him valiums just so he could try to keep his emotions in check.

What I want to know is once I receive these papers how do I contest them and since he isn't "legally" noted as her father what happens. He stated that the courts would order a DNA test because we were never married. He says he doesn't doubt paternity, but things are sounding funny. I have never neglected him of seeing her and have kept him up to date with everything including the entire 38 weeks I was pregnant. Rather than us setting down and discussing a joint agreement he went behind my back and did things sneaky.

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My Answer:

The only question you asked is how he can file a paternity action when paternity has not been proven.

If he's not the father, then you simply respond to his pleadings and say he's not the father. He'll probably demand a DNA test, which will probably get ordered, and then he loses everything if he's not the father.

If he is the father, and you act like he's not the father in front of a judge, when DNA test results come back, the judge understands that you're a jerk trying to come between father and child. That's not good for anyone.

If you both know that he's the father, the court will accept that. No additional discussion necessary.

From the tone of your email, I don't imagine that you're particularly pleasant with this man. His lack of involvement to date may be due to what you claim, or it may be the very reasonable consequence of you being very unpleasant to him when he's around.

If the latter, that would also explain why he filed a paternity action, since he would have concluded that peaceful settlement won't be possible.

I suggest you try to not take it personally that he's filed papers and instead counter-propose a parenting plan that keeps both parents highly involved. Feel free to propose a condition that both parents must complete a parenting course, as part of the settlement.

That way, you ease your concern about him not having parenting skills, and both of you avoid court, which is always a good thing.

It feels like you're bristling up and ready for a fight in court, when it seems to me it'd be best to hear his intent loud-and-clear and take some steps to try to come to reasonable agreement with the parenting plan.

If he's a jerk, you'll end up in court. But you should do your best to avoid court. It's up to you to offer a settlement, and you don't control how he responds.

Look at my section on parenting plans to consider what sorts of things you and he should be addressing.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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