My brother potentially had two children out of wedlock
with a woman who will not allow him or my family to see
his children, which everyone desperately wants to do. In
Indiana the woman has sole custody without a paternity
test on children born out of wedlock, and he cannot afford
a test for both children. All he wants is to be a part of
their lives, and I do not think he should be punished for
that, I think he should be commended. Do you know of any
support groups that would be willing to help him through
this? She is married now and they have been talking about
her husband adopting the children, which would exclude my
family from them, and we are horrified. Moreover, the
mother has been telling the older child that daddy doesn't
love her and that he'll probably just "skip out," as she
put it to my mother. We need help. Thank you.
Your brother has a difficult decision to make.
If he is the father, he has certain rights under the law to be involved in raising these children. However, it takes court proceedings to enforce those rights, and if he can't afford the paternity tests, it probably means he can't afford legal representation either.
I don't agree with you that your brother is being "punished." He IS to be commended for wanting to take on the responsibility of fatherhood, but some men face a difficult road to secure that responsibility. It's going to mean stress, financial hardship, frustration, and pain. If he wants to be an involved father, he's going to have to find a way to finance this fight... begging from family members and friends, stacking up credit card debt, etc. The first round of this could easily get up to $5,000 for tests and attorney fees.
As your brother knows, he has very little authority to do anything until a court finds him to be the father and grants him certain access to his kids. It was your brother's choice to have two children out of wedlock (whether he made that decision on purpose or by accident), and these are simply consequences that many of us must face. Okay?
The other alternative is to walk away. I don't know how much involvement your brother has had with the kids to date. If they don't know him at all, walking away isn't necessarily a bad option. However, if your brother is already bonded as their dad, walking away makes it very tough on everyone.
If he signs over his rights, then he's done. The new husband adopts the kids, and your brother will never have any responsibilities or rights regarding these kids. No financial burden at all, but certainly an emotional one that may get less painful with each passing year.
That said, I'm not sure how if your entire family supports the father and is horrified about what's going on, the father can't find a way to come up with the money to secure his parental rights. Family members aren't willing to take out loans, give him gifts of $500 to $1000 each, give him loans with generous terms, etc.???
It's my estimate that for $5,000, your brother will be able to secure his paternity rights (if he's the dad), plus a parenting schedule wherein he spends specific time with the children on a regular basis. It's likely to be a minority timeshare, but it will at least be set in stone and enforceable via court order. For that petty amount of money (in the whole scheme of things), it would really put a damper on the nightmare you're describing.
All of the above presumes that your brother is a good father. If he's a repeat criminal, a pervert, a drug or alcohol addict, or a very violent man-- then his chances go WAY down that he will spend much time with the kids, and perhaps it would be in the kids' best interest for the new man to adopt them (presuming the new man would be a good father).
I just don't have enough details to give very specific advice, though.
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.