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Stepfather concerned about father's drug/alcohol use and illegal residency status

Your Question:
My wife and I go into court later today to fight for custody against her ex-boyfriend who is the biological father of her son. The guy is a deadbeat dad who hasn't paid a cent in child support since the breakup last August. My wife currently has custody. The biological father was in a horrible car accident in January which landed him in a coma for 2 months due to drinkink and driving while also under the influence of narcotics, all while being underage. He is an illegal alien with no driver's license, insurance, registration, etc. These days however, the illegals have more rights than we do, unfortunately. Him and my wife agreed to visitation on Sundays from 1-4pm during the mediation appointment which is in the report. Now he wants Saturdays too and we go to court today. Actually, the father has never really cared much about having a relationship with his son. His parents, also illegal, are the ones who want a relationship with there grandson and are pressuring him to file these court hearings. We have a lawyer but he says we should be thankfull for whatever we get because it could be much worse. I know it could be worse but from a parent's standpoint... this is a deadbeat dirt bag dad whos irresponsable behaviour threatens the well being and safety of the child. The father is now almost physically recovered from the accident. Depending on the judge's decision today, what should be our next course of action to eventually weed out this guy from the picture. In this situation, my wife and I feel that the greater evil of either this 19 month old baby not knowing much of his biological father, and putting the baby's safety and well-bring/respectable upbringing on jeopary, would be for the father to not be involved. Its sad but true. We're hoping that I might be able to adopt this child, if and when, the father signs over his rights once he's tired of paying child support. Like I said, he doesn't care much for a relationship with his son. Thanks for any help.

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My Answer:

I think one of two scenarios would be good:

1. Dad straightens up and learns to be a responsible, good parent.

2. Dad signs over rights and lets you adopt him.

Push for a custody evaluation, leaving the status quo in place until the report is done (i.e., Sundays 1-4). Push for parties to share costs of the evaluation. Get orders on child support.

If he ponies up the money for everything, it indicates a true desire to be a father and he just may need help learning along the way (which the court will likely order him get). If not, then you go back for contempt for failure to pay support and/or costs of evaluation, and at that time he'll probably be convinced that it's easier to sign rights away.

If/when you're able to adopt, move away so he can't cause problems.

One comment on some irrelevant bigotry you're showing-- simply because someone isn't a documented citizen doesn't mean that he/she is an inferior parent. The family law court cares about stability and parenting skills. OTHER government agencies care about documentation. So, don't make that an issue.

The biggest issue you've raised is the use of narcotics and/or alcohol. It's going to take a custody evaluator to dig a little to assess current threat of that, if the court doesn't immediately buy one side or the other.


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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