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Sister wonders what her brother should do, first learning of his 7 year old child now in foster care


Your Question:
My brother had a releationship 7 years ago with a young lady. She became pregnant but was not sure at time who the father was. He moved about 300 miles away and about 6 mos ago a friend of both parties contacted my brother to tell him the child is in an un safe enviroment. So we paid for one of those test and he sent it in and found out he is the father of the little girl. Well this test can not be used in court but what can he do to start trying to get custody or at least start to see this child. The mother at this time does not have the child CPS has taken her away and she is with an Aunt. We want to help her. Can you tell me how. Thanks

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My Answer:
Hi,

Your brother is essentially a sperm donor, as this is the only relationship he has had with the child. He could have done a DNA test 7 years ago, and he could have made a choice at that time to become this child's father.

You and he need to understand that there is only biology involved at this time, with absolutely no emotional bonding or familiarity in existence.

I'd suggest that before your brother jump in with both feet to start demanding to be a part of this child's life, he hire a private investigator to assess the situation. Is the aunt a good person? Does the child have access to other healthy relatives? Will the child be okay if the father stays away?

Once he has that information, he may wish to meet with a child psychologist to examine the dynamics at work and try to figure out what's truly best for the child.

If the answers that come back indicate that the child would benefit tremendously by having your brother in her life, I'd suggest that he move to the city where she is living, simply because he can't be an involved father from 300 miles away, and because it wouldn't be good to take her away from any stability she has (e.g., nurturing relatives, friends, school).

After moving, consult with a family law attorney in that county to request visitation with the child, which will be very sparse at first. Your brother will have to tell a judge, "Yeah, I was away for 7 years and wanted to pretend that I didn't know I was the father, but now I'm here to take care of this child."

It's going to be slow-going. But if your brother really works hard, he should probably have a decent relationship with this child within a couple years.

At that point, once a bond is established and your brother has proven himself, he would have a shot at getting custody if there are no other long-term adequate housing arrangements for the child.

But I'm not an attorney, and I don't know what state you're in. Your brother needs to talk to an attorney.

Eric





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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