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Never married father on probation wonders how to get custody of 3-year-old daughter; mother is gay and a stripper

Your Question:
I currently had a child with this girl in 2003. I was not allowed to be there for the birth or anything. I was then later involed with my daughter since then. The mother of my child is gay and I disagree with that. she is also a stripper and i could go on. my child was raised by her godmother and family. I have done and tried to be a constant part of her life but her mother makes it difficult. i have not seen my child since dec.18 2005. i currently have a 2 bdroom apt that my child has her own room and i have several people that will state i am a better parent. i am not seen as the father in the states eyes. i am also on probation for a drug possession charge and have been trying to wait until i have completed that b4 i take action. i currently am starting up a detail business. i don't want complete custody, just joint with me being the primary caretaker.. i don't know where to go because she will lie and without someone actually seeing the living arrangements and believing testimony of mutual friends i feel i don't have a chance. all i want is for my daughter to get the oppurtunity to be successful in life.. pls help..what steps/what should i do?

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My Answer:

Kudos for wanting to be a father who helps his daughter have great opportunities.

There are a number of things you can do to help your position, in terms of being an involved parent:

  • Because you've been busted on a drug possession, you should voluntarily take monthly drug tests at the cheapest clinic you can find. It would be great to have three months of results (if clean) later for court, to show you're no longer using.

  • To help bolster your case, take and complete a local parenting class. Regardless of whether you think you need it or not, it will show the court that you're serious about being a parent.

  • Get one of the books I recommend to learn how to build a case against a mother like you describe

I've got to adjust your thinking on a couple of matters.

First, the longer you go without seeing your daughter, the worse your position gets. It's now four months since you've spent time with your daughter, and you're just sitting around doing nothing (i.e., that's what the judge will think). If you were serious about being a father, you'd be in court, demanding to see your child. But, four months has passed with no legal action. Not good.

I know you're thinking that you'll get the drug probation stuff resolved first, but both can happen at the same time... "Your honor, I know I messed up. I'm now clean, I'm getting my life together, and I'll do whatever the court requires to show that."

As to the homosexual thing, you have to argue in terms of "best interest of the child." There are many gay parents in this country, and it's not illegal to be a gay parent. While some may have moral issues with this, it's not a legal issue. I don't see how disrobing her sexual orientation is beneficial to your position.

As to the stripper thing, again you must argue in terms of "best interest of the child." There are many strippers in this country, and it's not illegal to be a parent who is a stripper. Some may have moral issues with this, but it's not a legal issue. You must argue how it has an impact on the child-- certainly not financially if the mother is working. An example of a decent "best interest" argument is, "This job requires shifts from 6pm to midnight. It's in a child's best interest to have a parent who can handle bedtime."

The mother's counter-argument would be, "This job allows me to be available for my daughter from when she wakes up, and until dinnertime. My loving parents put her to bed. This arrangement is wonderful for my daughter."

As to her lies, many people like in court. The judge knows it. Put your case together with evidence and credible testimony. If you don't know exactly what that means or how to do it, you really need an attorney.

So... your first step is to file a paternity action to be recognized as the father and to get court orders for a parenting schedule (i.e., when the child will be in each parent's home). Child support will also be ordered, based upon your state's formula.

If you can have drug tests complete and a parenting class done BEFORE your first court hearing, that would be extremely beneficial for you.

Good luck... remember, you've got 15 years before this child leaves for college. Take care of the short-term stuff, but have a plan for long-term. You may not get everything you want in one easy step.


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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