My girlfriend recently broke up with me and she is 4 weeks away from having the baby. She's basically saying that I will have to pay to see my daughter. I have no problem paying child support. It's my little girl. But I don't want to be taken for a ride by the mother, nor do I want to pay for her, I want my money to go to my daughter. Also, I want joint custody. She is not a bad person and I might have trouble proving her unfit. Not even really something I would want to do to her. However, she is currently in drug court for doctor shopping for prescription medication. My question is, where do I begin. From the birth of my daughter, I know she will have full control. What can I do now?
You've got a few weeks to educate yourself on how family law works in your state.
If you TRULY want to be involved in your daughter's life, and if you are TRULY wanting to go down the path that will provide the best opportunity for that, here's what you should do:
- Go to my What You Must Have page, read it, and take the advice.
- Spend some time on this website reading through entries of "Parents Just Starting the Divorce/Separation Process". This will start to train your brain on how to think.
- Take a parenting class ASAP, so you have that under your belt, which you can announce in court (i.e., so nobody can accuse you of being an ignorant parent).
- From the date of birth, start putting money into a savings account every month that is equal to approximately what you'll be ordered to pay for child support. If you have no clue, do a Google search for "child support calculator YourState". It'll give you a ballpark. Don't give the mother any cash. If you DO give her any money, give her a check, and write "Child support" in the memo area. If/when child support gets ordered, the court may back-date it, and you want to be able to prove that you've already paid some. Anything not clearly marked as child support will be considered a gift.
- Finally, start shopping for a family law attorney who has practiced in your county for at least ten years. If you get the one major book I recommend, that has some helpful information on how to locate a good attorney.
Do NOT tell the mother you're doing any of this, or make stupid threats, or whatever. Let her think that she's in control. If you and she email, it'd be great if she puts in writing that she intends to play blackmail with the father/daughter relationship. That can be gold in court.
Ideally, you and she will come to a peaceful resolution. But if not, you're prepared.
By the time the baby is born, you should have your plan laid out. Time's a wastin'!
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.