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Never married father didn't see child for 3 years due to mother disappearing; he just found her

Your Question:
I am writing you in regards to my Fiance'. My fiance got a friend pregnant whom he never had a real realtionship with. The mother was actually had a b/f at the time. I am going to make this as short as possible. So bare with me. when the baby was born my fiance was not invited to the birth but mother's b/f was there. When the child was 3 weeks old my fiance had a paternity test done and it came out positive. The mother never allowed the baby around my fiance unless she was there to supervise. If the baby cried she ripped the baby out of his arms. So my fiance filed papers. When they went to mediation she convinced my fiance that they would work things out outside of court and allow a lot of time with child. So my fiance drop the hearing. No sooner did mother and baby disappear. For 3 years he has not seen or heard of his daughter. The mother now(we found out from maternal grandma) lives in another town(nothing of which is in her namei.e car, apartment, phone), nothing. Which would explain why my fiance couldnt find them. And also from information mother's mother gave to us, the child is calling 2 other men "daddy" and mother says my fiance will never see the child again. She was served with papers as soon as my fiance found out where she was 2 months ago. She has not complied with anyhting. She wont respond and we are just now waiting for the courts to issue a default or some kind of hearing, to establish some kind of contact between father and daughter. My fiance has everything going for him i.e. career, stable clean home, no priors, never been in any kind of trouble. He needs some good homest advice...What are we up against and how much time will he get since the child does not know who my fiance is and knows another man to be her "daddy".

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My Answer:

I think your fiance needs to really examine his goals in the situation.

If it's mostly "to be a dad", that's something you and he can create together after you're married.

This is one of those situations where his irresponsible actions with the wrong person has brought a child into a horrible situation.

If he had followed through on his original path, gotten court orders, and gotten involved in the child's life from day one; then you'd have a different scenario.

But as of now, we've got a three year old child being raised by a less-than-ideal mother who comes from a less-than-ideal family; and they're in cahoots to keep your fiance away from this child.

He really REALLY needs to think about what he should do. Any possible good outcome is going to be costly in both emotions and finances. It'll take years to get any semblance of a parenting schedule and regain a bond with the child. It's possible that the mother would bolt again, rather than comply with court orders.

Your fiance needs to ask if he's willing to take on that battle, with very little promise for a pleasant life.

Do you and he want to live the next 15 years with this crazy woman in your lives, trying to track her down, trying to enforce court orders, trying to deprogram any bad things the mother tells the child, getting upset on a regular basis when you learn of the latest poor decision the mother has made, and putting on-going strain on your soon-to-be marriage and future family?

Is that really the life you and he are willing to endure, all in the faint hope of establishing a paternal bond with this child?

You asked a legal question, and I'm suggesting that the bigger question is not a legal one. It's one that should be discussed with a counselor, priest, rabbi, mentor, etc. Is it reasonable for your fiance (with you in tow) to go this path?

Or instead, does your fiance just give up, ask God for forgiveness on a daily basis for your fiance's role in creating this child to a bad situation, and pray that He watch over her as she grows up?

It's a real toughie, this decision he faces (and you indirectly face). It's one that'll be done with many tears, I imagine.

Legally, yes, he can get court orders to spend time with the child. He may want to ask the court for reunification services, to get a counselor or therapist help the two of them get acquainted.

But from long-distance, he can expect very little time with the child for quite a while. As you note... he's a complete stranger to the child (regardless of who's fault it is).

I imagine that the only way he'd ever get significant time with the child is if he becomes bonded and then can show that the mother is unfit.

His initial irresponsibility of contributing to the pregnancy, and then his big mistake to drop his custody action initially, has created a tragic situation for both he and this child.

At this point... I don't know. Just soul-searching is all I can recommend.

Even if he gets stuck paying child support, that's the worst damage that can happen if he simply walks away at this point.

Whew. Good luck on this. Not easy.


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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