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Man just discovered he's a father of a baby; how to get custody?

Your Question:
I just found out I am the father of a 9 month old girl. The mother of the child was not a girlfriend. She told me she wanted me to take a paternity test after the first guy failed, and I passed.

I want to pursue custody arrangements with the mother, but she is not even willing to negociate 50/50 shared custody. I am willing to do what it takes to win full custody. I would like to know what my chances of getting full custody are given my current situation. I just bought a house and have a room set up for the baby, I am enrolling in parenting classes and I want to make sure the child has what is best for her. Since finding out my status I have been a full participant in the childs life, as much as the mother will let me be. I am contributing fully to the childs expenses and would love to take care of the child more if the mother would let me. I have a girlfriend who I have been with for 18 mos, and wants to be an active participant in the baby's life. Will certain factors like this have an advantage or disadvantage to me getting full custody of my daughter. My girlfriend wants to take parenting classes and join me in activities and time I spend with my daughter as well. Is her active participation a positive or negative result in custudy battles?

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My Answer:

Your starting place should be to read my What You Must Know page and take everything to heart.

It's wonderful that you want to be an involved father, that you have an appropriate home, that you're setting up someone to be a positive stepmother, and that you're taking parenting classes.

In the court's eyes, that essentially means that you're not a danger to the child.

However, a court will also ask, "What is so traumatic about the current arrangement that we should disrupt this baby's life to a large degree?"

You said nothing negative about the mother as a parent. It's possible that there's nothing seriously wrong with her.

What counts the most, going into custody litigation, is the status quo. The status quo has the mother with 9 months of raising the child on her own, and you with 0 months.

That's where you begin.

If you're serious about your case, look at my What You Must Have page. It will help you learn how to mount the best possible case.

Because the mother is not willing to negotiate reasonable terms of co-parenting this child, it's time for you to hire an experienced, aggressive attorney.

You need temporary orders that afford you as much time as possible. Expect the court to make temporary orders that has the baby in your home for far less than 50% of the time, unless you have compelling evidence that the mother is not fit.

From there, you spend every minute you're with her being a good father. You spend much time learning about family law and child custody strategies. You spend much time building your case and getting ready for the inevitable custody trial.

Also consider that this case may stretch out for years, with you getting more and more time with each passing year. Pace yourself. The first skirmish -- getting temporary orders -- is only the first in what will be a long process so long as the mother refuses reasonable negotiation.

You've outlined no reason you should have sole custody. I generally don't give "chances", but I'll put your chance of getting sole custody at 0%; unless the mother is addicted to crack and leaves the baby unattended for days at a time.

Finally, you've shown ZERO sensitivity to the fact that a nine month old baby is likely only bonded to the mother at this point, and you wish to brutally rip that apart. That kind of insensitive attitude is father-focused, not child-focused. A judge will toss your arrogance aside pretty quickly.

So... you're way off-base in your thinking. Start reading posts on this website, and get some of the books I recommend. Your misguided logic is your worst enemy right now.

This honest feedback, if you take it, is going to do more for your case than anything you've got going right now.


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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