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Never-married father has had child in his home 3 days/week with no court orders in place; mother now wants to move with child to another state

Your Question:
Hello, I'm writing on behalf of my boyfriend who is a father of a beautiful 1 year old baby girl. He and is ex were never married and she became pregnant after they broke up. Once she revieled this information he filed for a paternity test when the child was born to make sure that she was his. Now everything is being work out and he pays child support every month as well as giving her half of the money for child care when needed. She spends three days a week with him and 1 day a week with his sister who lives with him. They don't have anything on paper so she legally has sole custody. She now reveals that she wants to move out of state and take the child with her. If he files for joint custody in CA before she moves will he also need to file in Oregon? Does he have a chance at joint custody? and can he stop her from leaving the state?

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My Answer:

If he can prove that he has been with the child 3 days every week for the past 6 to 12 months, he has a strong shot at securing joint custody.

However, he needs to file a paternity action and for joint custody AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, based up de facto (i.e., actual and status quo) custody arrangements; and he needs to serve the mother by personal service. If he fails to do so before the mother moves, then he's pretty done and will be visiting his daughter in Oregon.

In California, when a paternity action is filed, there is an automatic restraining order that prohibits both parents from removing the child from the state without the other parent's permission or further order of the court.

As you're not one of the parties involved - regardless of your intent to be helpful - I'm not going to spend much more time on this reply. Have your boyfriend write to me with regard to the situation (including further details on stability of each home), and I'll provide more.

I can't emphasize enough that if he doesn't file before she moves, he is going to be so screwed on this. DO NOT INFORM THE MOTHER OF HIS INTENT TO FILE.

Have him write to me. I think I can help him quite a bit.


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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