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Never married mother of baby wants to know her custodial rights

Your Question:
I'm a single mom, never married. My daughter is seven months old and her dad and I just called it quiets! What rights do I have? Do I have full custody even though his on her birth cert. and she has his last name. What rights does he have?

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My Answer:

Without a court order, you have 100% custody, and the father has 0% custody.

With parents who are never married, the father has no rights until a court recognizes that he is the father.

I strongly encourage you to sit down with the father and discuss how you two will parent this child. If you two can't talk about it easily, then go to a mediator who can help guide you two through the issues.

If you take the attitude that you control this child's life, and if the father is a decent parent and wants to be involved in the child's life, you are going to end up in court-- because he will have no other choice.

Court is a horrible place, where a man or woman in a robe tells you two how you will raise your kid between you. Further, it can get extremely expensive, which is just flushing money down the toilet.

So... if you called it quits, I imagine that one or both of you are angry. Try to set aside that anger and agree at least to be peaceful with regards to the baby... i.e., "I think you're a jerk, and I've got plenty to say about it; but right now I need to treat you with respect and peace while we discuss our child."

You'll find that most fathers after separation just want to be involved with their kid, with frequent quality time, and respected as an equal parent. If you start this new path with that attitude, he'll probably be extremely flexible and cooperative with you (knowing that you're not seeking to destroy the father/child bond).

But, try to come between a father and child - or a mother and child - and everyone starts seeing red.


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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