What can I do to get sole custody of my daughter? 25 Answers as of July 02, 2013

I have a seven year old daughter whose father is in Florida. I haven't had any contact with him since February 2008. When I left Florida I had a restraining order on him for domestic violence. I just want to know what I have to do to get sole custody of my daughter. We were never married but his name is on the birth certificate. He has never paid any child support.

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The Law Offices of Laura A. Walker | Laura A. Walker
File for sole custody and get an order so you don't too worry about him coming up and raising these issues.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 1/20/2012
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
What is your definition of sole custody? Right now, you have everything. Dad is not seeing the child, not making any decisions, not participating in child rearing, etc. However, he is also not paying child support. File a Suit to Establish Paternity and you open up the case, you can get child support and court orders. The case will be here, he will have to choose, come here and fight or simply sign. I would suggest you contact the State Attorney General Child Support Division. Ask them to open the case.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/20/2012
Law Office of Jeffrey Murrell
Law Office of Jeffrey Murrell | Jeffrey L. Murrell
You need to file a motion to modify custody in the jurisdiction where the paternity judgment was decided.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 1/19/2012
Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc
Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc | Lynda Leblanc
If there is a current custody order then you need to file to modify in the court that that order was issued, or request to transfer jurisdiction to Indiana (if that is where the child is now) and file to modify custody. If paternity was never established with a court order, then as the Mother you have natural custody of the child and if he wants parenting time he needs to file something with the court requesting that paternity be established. As for child support if there was no order he was not required to pay support, however, you may file a petition to establish paternity and request support back to the time of birth (however it is unlikely that you would get back support for all seven years), but this opens the door to him getting parenting time. You should contact an attorney to discuss your options, so they can get all the information necessary to give you accurate advise for your situation.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 1/19/2012
Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
If you never married, you are the natural and legal custodian of your child. The father actually does not have any parental or custodial rights until he files a legitimation action to legitimate the child. You can contact a child support recovery office in Georgia to obtain their assistance in collecting child support for your child.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/19/2012
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, until the Father legitimates the minor child, he has no legal or custodial rights.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Depending on what state you are in, you may already have sole custody. Speak to a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Absent a court order giving the child's father visitation or custody rights in Arkansas an unmarried mother is deemed to have sole custody of the child. Being listed as the biological father on a birth certificate in Arkansas does not give the father custody or visitation rights, he would have to file a petition of paternity and visitation or custody to be able to enforce his right to visitation of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law if he has not legitimated the child, you were never married, and there is no current custody order in effect, you already have sole custody of the child by operation of law and there is nothing else you need to do.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    The Law Office of Jill Rose Quinn | Jill Rose Quinn
    You can file a petition to terminate his parental rights but you already have sole custody of your daughter.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    File in Iowa for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 6/20/2013
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You have to bring a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction in order to get sole custody. A Florida court would definitely have jurisdiction, and a Georgia court probably would, depending on how long you and the child have lived here.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    The Law Office of Nathaniel M. Smith, LLC
    The Law Office of Nathaniel M. Smith, LLC | Nathaniel M. Smith
    You may have sole custody already; it depends on whether he's ever filed anything in court and it depends on Florida law too, which I can't pretend to know. You should consult with an attorney at your earliest convenience.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You would be filing a motion for sole legal and physical custody and if appropriate renew any existing restraining orders. Please meet with an experienced family law attorney to explore your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    File a Motion in Court requesting sole custody.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    You will need to file a Paternity petition and get a court order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    You already have 'de facto' sole custody, in view of the father's being in another state and lack of contact since 2008. I can't tell from your question whether the father knows where you and your caughter are. You could leave a sleeping dog lie, or your could file a Paternity case in California, which would have to be served on the father. If you filed and served such a case, you could request child support orders and the father could request custody and/or visitation orders. Or you could go to your local governmental Child Support Agency and have them seek child support orders against the father - but child custody and visitation cannot be litigated in a Child Support Agency case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    You can file a motion with the court setting out the reasons you think you should have sole custody of your child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    If there is no court order establishing any parental rights for the father, you already have whatever you believe "sole custody" is because an unmarried father has no specific rights until there is a court case that establishes those rights. Similarly, until there is a court order directing him to pay child support, the fact that he hasn't paid anything doesn't have much significance on custody issues anyway.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If there is no Order of Paternity from a Court or an affidavit (not birth certificate) of Parentage, then it is questionable if he can be legally considered as the father.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    The problem is one of jurisdiction. If the restraining order included your daughter, Florida would have what is called continuum exclusive jurisdiction to enter a parenting plan if the Father still lives in Florida. But for that order, you could have started an action in Washington it may be better to leave things as they are. You can file for support in Washington State but you would need to serve him in Florida which of course could get him interested in taking some kind of action. Difficult situation from a strategic perspective.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Petition the court to establish a parenting plan limiting his contact with the children. Otherwise, his rights to the children are the same as yours.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    The Law Offices of Jill Puertas LLC | Jill Puertas
    If your daughter is currently with you, then you have sole custody. If father's name is not on the birth certificate and you were never married, then you have sole custody until and if he would ever decide to challenge same through the courts.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/18/2012
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