Can I get custody of my girlfriend's kids if I am not the father? 23 Answers as of August 24, 2011

I was 19 in the military and I was dating a girl and she told me she was pregnant so I assumed I was the kids (twins) dad. They have my last name and everything and they are named after me. Then I found out later that they werent mine but I still care for them. She gave custody of them to her mom but I still provide for them (school clothes get them for the summer etc...). Both of the kids state that they want to live with me. Is there anything I can do?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Commence a nonparental custody action unless you have been established as the father by court order then you can seek custody in that action.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
Yes, there is. You may have the right to take custody, under New Jersey law which may treat you as their father because you have raised them and been their father for so many years.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/20/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
The simple answer is no. If you are not the father you have no legal rights to the child or children.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/15/2011
Michael Rose Attorney at Law
Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
How did you find out that the twins were not biologically yours? Did the mother go to court? The last name does not make a difference. You have been acting as a presumed father. This gets complicated so go talk to someone get legal advice and see if you can get them legally. Good luck
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2011
Rice & Co., LPA
Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
It is legally possible for you to be awarded custody of these children. However, with third parties, it is difficult unless the parents and current custodian are in agreement. If the children's mother and grandmother are in favor of you taking custody, it probably could be done. (The father's agreement as well would be even better.) If they are all going to fight against this, it will be tough.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    You were never married to the mother and you are not the children's biological father. You may be able to get some rights to the children, but, I'd think that you'd be in for a long and expensive fight if there is any opposition to your involvement with the children. Without knowing a lot more about your situation, I really couldn't venture much of an opinion beyond that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No, not unless the Mother agrees (unless you were married to the mother, then that is a different situation, but it doesn't sound as if you were).
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    You are what is referred to as a presumptive father. A presumptive father can file custody suit - though there are a few limitations - how long ago did Grandma get custody and why? Are you still in the military? If so, where are you stationed? Ft. Hood is the largest military community in Texas, are you there? If so, call Billy Ray Hall in Temple, he is the attorney I would recommend to you. Since I limit my practice to Collin and Dallas Counties and there are no military communities around here, I can only help if you are out of the military and living in this area (or the kids are here).
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Here is an attachment and information you may find useful: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/Notebooks/Pathfinders/ChildCustody/childcustody .htm Another way to approach it would be to go to Probate Court and seek Guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    You can request visitation if you have parent like relationship with the children or try to get guardianship over them
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    To Whom It May Concern: Yes, there might be. The question is far too complicated to address in an e-mail. Call an experienced, knowledgeable, local Family Law Attorney (in your area) and seek a free initial consultation. If you cannot hire an Attorney, visit the Clerk's Office and see what resources the County might be able to offer you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    It sounds like you have established paternity of the children. You don't need to be the biological father of the children to be deemed the natural father. If you are on the birth certificate you have an equal right to the custody of the children. You should immediately contact an attorney to discuss you rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Edward Papa, Esq.
    Edward Papa, Esq. | Edward Papa
    Maybe. They are named after you. Are you listed as the father on the birth certificate? Have there been any proceedings on paternity? You need a consultation with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Potentially, you could obtain primary responsibility for the children. But, since you are not the father the situation is more complicated and highly dependent on the facts. You need to consult an attorney who can evaluate the actual history of your involvement to assess your chances of succeeding if the mother does not agree. Since you don't explain how the mother "gave custody to her mom", it isn't possible to assess whether that has any significance. Also, even though you say the children have your last name, that doesn't reveal whether you are actually listed as the father on their birth certificates. If you are on the birth certificate, that could create a presumption that you are, in fact, the father and thus give you an advantage in seeking parental responsibilities if that presumption is considered irrefutable.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you could get the mother and bio-dad on board, you might be able to adopt (depending on your age and other details). Discuss this with a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Unfortunately unless the biological father surrenders his parental rights and the mother agrees for you to adopt them, there is nothing that you can do legally to get custody, particularly if her mother already has custody. If her mother did not have custody, then if the bio father had nothing to do with the kids and the mother had neglected or otherwise not cared for them, you might have been able to file a petition in juvenile court and get at least temporary custody. But with the grandmother in the picture, if she is taking care of the kids, I am afraid that you would not have much of a chance to get custody. In hindsight, you should have had a DNA test and/or filed a petition to legitimate the kids right after they were born.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington you can file a third party custody action.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    File a petition for guardianship. Wise to meet with an attorney to discuss all the facts and explore your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    There is something called loco parents, which is Latin for "stands in the place of." It applies to grandparents, step-parents, or others that have acted in the place of a biological parent to the extent it would be in the children best interest for that relationship to continue. Since they have your name I am assuming you are on the birth certificate as well. It's a little complicated but I think you'd have a good chance of custody or court ordered visitation that could lead to custody at the least.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Maybe. I would not be certain the children are not yours unless you have had a paternity test. Is your name on the birth certificate? Are you providing court ordered child support? Too many unanswered questions for me to help. Please contact a local domestic relations attorney for assistance.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/11/2011
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