Does a father automatically gain child custody rights from a DNA test? 20 Answers as of July 04, 2013

My daughter's ex got the DNA results back saying that he is the father, and we want to be safe from him not taking her right now until she gets custody. Can he take her without giving her back even if name isn't on the birth certificate?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
A man who is a father of a child has equal rights with the Mother (as a matter of law) until the Court rules otherwise. That said, there is a little practicality here, possession is 9/10th of the law.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/23/2011
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
The short answer is No he does not. However, you really need to consult with an attorney as much more information needs to be known in order to accurately answer that question. Such as, was the DNA test court ordered? Or was it done on his own? Has he been adjudicated the biological father as a result of the DNA test? Is there even a pending court action? And, if so, have there been any orders entered in the court action yet? The answers to these questions, as well as other questions need to be known. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/23/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
No. Under Minnesota law, the father of a child who was not born during a marriage has no enforceable rights for custody or parenting time unless or until established by a court order.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/23/2011
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
In California a father does not automatically gain child custody rights from a DNA test. While the DNA test may say someone is the biological father that person doesn't obtain rights until they sign a voluntary declaration of paternity or go to court and have paternity established. In circumstances were the mother was married to another man, the husband of the mother is presumed to be the father and he will have parental rights.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/23/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
NO. Whether his name is on the birth certificate or not, the bio-father has no specific rights until a court gives them to him after judicially ruling that he is the father and has parental rights. Until that happens, the mother has full parental rights and does not need to "get custody". If it appears continued conflict is inevitable, one of them needs to begin a paternity case to have a court establish the rules that will control how they will parent the child under terms that are in the child's best interest. Until that is done, there also can't be any court ordered child support.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/23/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    First, you don't say what state you are in. To some extent the answer is going to depend on that since each state has its own laws governing things like this. Also, you didn't say whether your daughter and the father were married to each other. The answer will change some depending on whether they were married. In the state of Washington (where I am), if the parties were not married, then, the father is going to have to comply with the Washington statute on paternity before he has much of any rights. If they were married, then, the father has just as many rights as the mother. Regardless, a court will likely take a dim view of one parent hiding or withholding a child from the other parent. My advice, therefore, would be for your daughter to get the matter filed with the court at her earliest opportunity to get some court orders in place.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/23/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Has a paternity action been filed? Has a petition for custody and support been filed?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    No a paternity action needs to be started and the court needs to determine custody and placement. Until that point, it is presumed that mom has sole custody and full placement.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    He will have to file a paternity action seeking custody and/or visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You should retain a family lawyer where you live as soon as possible to discuss your rights in a paternity suit/legitimation action. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    The test does not automatically give the father custody, however it will give him rights to pursue custody. In order for him to have visitation with the child, he would have to file a petition for custody and visitation with the court. Your daughter may be able to resolve matters with him by requesting that he agree to a parenting schedule.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Each state has different rules on this issue. In Ohio, mother of a child who has not married the father is the custodial parent until further orders of the court. The baby's father does have an obligation to pay child support, and a right to visitation when ordered by the court in Ohio. For information about your state's laws, please consult a local domestic relations attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Neither parent can abduct a child (take the child away from the other parent and deny all visitation), without a valid reason, such as the child would be in immediate danger if in one parent's custody. If one parent refuses the child to have contact with the other parent, that can have a negative effect on any future custody hearing. Best to call a local family law lawyer to discuss the particular facts of your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Since there is no custody order in place yet, your daughter automatically has sole legal and physical custody of her daughter. The father cannot legally take her anywhere without your daughter's consent - regardless of paternity / birth certificate. So, if not returning the child is a genuine concern, then your daughter should not relinquish the child to her ex until a court order is in place. Doing so will establish each parent's respective rights and set up scheduled visitation time. Otherwise, the other parent can be a major pain in the neck with constant demands.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    The positive DNA test results don't immediately confer any rights upon the father, but may embolden him to act, so your daughter should promptly retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to file and pursue a Paternity case against the father, to seek physical and legal custody rights, child support, birth costs, and attorney's fees.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    If he has acknowledged paternity (there is a form for that), without any court action started he has the same rights as the mother. It would be stupid of him to do so but that hasn't stopped everyone. Your daughter should immediately file for custody and support.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    A residential schedule will need to be established to determine who the children will be with.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law the biological father of a child born out of wedlock has no rights to the child, even if his name is on the birth certificate. A bio father of a child born out of wedlock must file a petition to legitimate the child before he has any rights and until then the mother has all custody, power, and control over the child; the mother automatically has all custodial rights until legitimation and a court order granting the father visitation rights. If you do not live in Georgia, check with a lawyer in your jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/22/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You left out what state you are in and there are 50 different answers. The Georgia answer is that the DNA test has NO impact on custody and that the mother has full custody without any court order (when you are not married). He cannot seek custody unless he first files to legitimize the child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/22/2011
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