Do I have full child custody if we did not go to court? 26 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My son's father and I are not married, but my son and I are not living with him due to his habits. Do I have full custody of my son even we didn't go to court?

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Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
Until there has been a determination of paternity through the court, a father who is not married to the mother of the child has limited rights.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/13/2011
Seattle Divorce Services
Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
Under Washington law you need to have a court ordered parenting plan to establish what the rights of each parent are to time with the child.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/4/2013
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Wow. This is an intriguing question. Kind of reminds me of the question of whether a tree in the woods makes sound when it falls if no one is there to hear it. The father has rights, but without an order from a court, I do not see him having an ability to enforce his rights. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/6/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Yes. In fact, even though he may be on the Birth Certificate, until he files a Paternity case he has no legal or physical custody of the child.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/6/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
As your son's mother (whose parentage cannot be denied), you do have de facto full custody rights, living with your son apart from his father. The father may be able, however, to assert and receive parental rights in a Paternity case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/6/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    The child's father will need to be legally adjudicated the father before establishing custody rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    The biological mother is presumed to have custody of a child in Ohio. The father needs to take affirmative steps, when the parents are not married, to establish paternity and to obtain any type of custodial rights.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    No one has custody without court proceeding. You both have equal rights.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    You have custody for as long as the father (or anyone else, for that matter) does not contest it. At any time, though, the father can file paperwork in court to establish a custody arrangement. So, if you want to protect your rights, you can always ask the court to establish you as the custodial parent of your children which will make it more difficult for anyone to change that in the future.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You and the Father have the same rights until a parenting plan is put in place.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You need to go to court. you need a court order that gives you custody AND forces him to pay money every week for your son. I can help you with this. And I will tell you up front what it will cost to do this for you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, if a child is born out of wedlock and the father does not "legitimize" the child in Superior or Juvenile Court, the father technically has no legal rights. Once he obtains an order of legitimation, he will have legal rights.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    If you have never gone to court, then yes, you have sole custody. This is spelled out under chapter 767 in the paternity section. Sometimes even law enforcement has to be shown this section so that a child can be returned to the mother when there are no orders.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Not unless there are court orders.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    Not if the father is on the birth certificate, that usually indicates joint legal custody. There are also other factors to be considered generally speaking.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Until there is a court order establishing paternity and parenting responsibilities for the bio-father, he has no specific, enforceable rights. As the mother, you have the same parental rights you would have if the other parent had died, but there is nothing you can point to that says what those rights are. The fact that you are asking the question suggests that there is, or soon will be, a disagreement brewing between you and the father; so, that suggests you should consult an attorney soon and begin the judicial proceedings necessary to clarify which parent has which rights and responsibilities.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    If you were never married and the father's paternity has never been established either by a judge or through an administrative action, then by default, you are the custodial parent until a judge determines otherwise. This means that the father would need to file a paternity action to establish himself legally as the biological father, which would then subsequently determine the division of the parental responsibility for the child and timesharing with the child between the two of you, as well as child support.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Without a court order you are considered the child's "natural tutrix," meaning you have care, custody and control of your child as against the State orany third party who is not a parent. Your rights visvis the father are different. If the father files a formal affidavit of paternity, he may bring you to court to recognize his parental rights and gain custody or visitation. Problems arise when fathers who are on the child's birth certificate come to a day care or school and leave with the child, which is within their parental rights as well. You should protect your rights to the fullest extent by pursuing a custody order, and perhaps a paternity/child support order from the child's father.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    The answer is: Maybe. If will first depend on whether paternity has ever been established. Since you said that the two of you were never married, then, the alleged father may not have any rights to the child until paternity is established. There are two ways to do this. One is through court action. The other is through the father having filed with the state an unrevoked declaration of paternity. Once paternity is established, the two of you have more or less equal rights in the child until the court enters a parenting plan or other orders relating to custody and visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Under Minnesota law, if the parents are unmarried, the presumptive custodial parent is the mother.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Yes. You have full custody. However, the father still has rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    No, you do not have full custody. If your son's father is on the birth certificate, you both have equal custody until orders are made from the court. What that means for you is that your son's father may come pick up your son without your consent as he is the father. You may also then pick up your son without the father's consent. In order to establish custody and visitation, you would need to file a Petition for Custody and Visitation with the courts. If your son's father is not on the birth certificate, he would need to establish paternity prior to having any type of custody over your son. You should contact a family law attorney for specific information relating to your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    It really does not work that way.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    You do have full custody pursuant to ORC 3109.042 which says: An unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the child until a court of competent jurisdiction issues an order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Until and unless the bio-dad files a petition to legitimize the child, you have sole custody and he has no right to see the child. (Regardless, he does have to give you support at least once every 30 days and you can swear out a warrant and have him put in jail if he does not).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law, the mother of a child born out of wedlock automatically has full custody, power, and control over the child and the father has no rights at all unless and until the father files a legitimation petition and the court awards him rights, or the parents get married. The mother of a child born out of wedlock does not need to petition a court for custodial rights.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/5/2011
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