Can my husband take custody of our daughter? 2 Answers as of June 17, 2011

I have a 5 year old daughter. We live in Ohio. Her dad and I have been married for 5 years but separated for almost 4. I have a boyfriend and we have been living together for almost 3 years. My soon to be ex and boyfriend got into a fight 2 weeks ago and now my daughter's dad is threatening to take her. Here are the facts. 1. He is not her biological father, he knows this and signed the birth certificate anyways. 2. He doesn't have a place to live and is an over the road truck driver. He claims he will quit his job and get a place. 3. In the 3 years I have lived here, he has had at least 5 different places to live. 4. He does not pay child support. He gives me money sometimes when he feels like it. 5. He will go weeks without seeing her. What I want to know is can he get custody of her? What can I do to prevent him from getting custody?

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Deal & Hooks, LLC
Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
You should consult with an attorney promptly. Your husband is presumed to be the child's legal father because he signed the birth certificate and because your daughter was born while the two of you were married. He has all the rights of a legal father in the eyes of the law. You may take steps to disestablish paternity, but these will have consequences as they pertain to child support and to the birth father. If he were to file for custody or visitation the court would consider the relationship he has with your daughter, the frequency and duration of the visits, whether he has appropriate housing, his level of support, and other factors. It will also consider your living situation and whether it is in the child's best interest to be with you. As I said, these issues can be tricky and it is best that you consult with an Ohio custody attorney promptly to determine what is the appropriate course of action to take to safeguard your rights.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/17/2011
Law Office of James Lentz
Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
As an overview, your situation is way too complicated to be considered for an answer from online posting. You desperately need a meeting with domestic relations attorney. I am curious: why have you not divorced up to this point? In terms of your facts, some are important to the outcome that you seek, and some are not. For example, the fact that your husband is not the child's biological father isn't necessarily determinative as to whether he will be able to obtain custody. Other factors such as contribution to the child's upbringing either financial or emotional, and the bottom line best interest of the child will be considered. The fact that you have provided for four years stable, decent home will weigh heavily on the determination of the judge. In Ohio and Michigan, you would certainly be entitled child-support just for asking. I say again for emphasis: you really need some time with domestic relations attorney. Please make the appointment immediately.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/17/2011
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