How can I get custody of my child? 29 Answers as of June 20, 2013

I am a single mother of a 2 year old boy, the father of my son has been in and out of his life since he was 8 months old. I have had my son living with me and my family since he was 8 months old. I want to gain custody of my little boy so that his father will not take off with him to another state. I fear that one day he will.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
You need to secure assistance of an attorney who practices in your jurisdiction, and file a Suit to Establish Paternity and get custody orders.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/27/2012
Law Office of Joan M. Canavan | Joan Canavan
There is not information in your question to determine if you are married to the father of your son. I presume not. Therefore, you should file a Complaint for Separate Support seeking sole legal and physical custody of your son and request child support as well so that the father of your child can financially contribute to his upbringing.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 1/26/2012
Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
You have sole custody until he establishes paternity. At that time, the court will issue a custody and visitation order.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/26/2012
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
You already have custody. You can't seek what you already have.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/26/2012
Law Office of James Lentz
Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
If you never married the father of your child, you already have custody by Ohio State Statute. Please meet with a domestic relations attorney to find out your rights and obligations to your child.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 1/26/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You don't specify whether you and the father of the child were ever married. If you were not, he has no rights to the child at all unless he first legitimates the child. This can be done with a simple form up to the child's first birthday; after that it must be done in a court action. If you two were never married and he never legitimated the child, him taking the child to another state would be kidnapping under both federal and state law.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/26/2012
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    If you have never been married to the father, and he has not filed a legitimation action, and there is no current custody/visitation order, then you automatically have sole custody and there is nothing else you need to do. If you are married to the father, you need to file for divorce and ask for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Since you apparently were never married, unless there has been a court case to legally declare that the man you say is the father is actually the legal father, he has no specific rights and you already have full legal authority. That means that he would be guilty of kidnapping if he took the child now. You could file a paternity case to have him legally declared the father and to have any specific parental rights set out in a court order. However, having that piece of paper will not prevent him from kidnapping the child if he is dead set on doing so; but, it might make it easier to get the child back if he does take him.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You have to file a custody case in order to have the court make legal orders regarding custody and visitation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Smith, Gildea & Schmidt | Michael Gene DeHaven
    File a Complaint to establish custody in the county where you reside. If you cannot afford an attorney, this web page should help you: http://mdcourts.gov/family/proseassist.html
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    I assume the parents were not married. If so, you should file your petition for paternity and motion for custody, visitation and support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Immediately file a motion with the court for custody and restriction on removal of the child from your county. A lawyer or the court's family law facilitator (if they have one) can help you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    The Law Office of Jill Rose Quinn | Jill Rose Quinn
    You already have custody of your child. In the absence of a court order saying that this man has parental rights, he is a stranger to the child. Don't let him see your son.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    You need to start by filing a Motion in Court requesting the Court to grant your request.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    An unmarried mother in Arkansas is deemed to have sole custody of her child unless the father has filed a petition for paternity in the circuit court and was awarded visitation or custody rights. If that has not been done you already have sole custody but in either case if he took the child he would be guilty of kidnapping.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    You need to file and serve a Petition to establish a residential schedule. A trial will the be held to entee a permanent parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    Did he sign the birth certificate or do you have a court order? If not, then you have sole custody and he hs no legal rights.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    If there has never been any court order, then you have "custody" by default if you were never married. However, if you want a court ruling that the child lives predominately with you, which would prevent him from removing the child to another state, then you should file a paternity action so that you can get a court order.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    File a Paternity suit and seek Custody orders under the Uniform Parentage Act.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Are there currently any type of court orders? Was the child born during a marriage or out of wedlock?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/20/2013
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    File an action in the non-dissolution unit of the Superior Court, Family Division.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Anthony Saunders Esq., PLLC | Anthony M. Saunders
    You will need to file court papers to establish parentage and custody of the child. This is advisable in any situation in which the parents of a minor child are not living together or married. In this scenario it can set up support obligations of the non-custodial parent and visitation. But most importantly, it establishes the primary custodial parent and can be used to prevent one parent from taking the child away from the other. Without such an order, there is not a lot to protect the parent. I advise speaking with an attorney to establish this.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If the parents were not married, by default, the mother is the custodial parent and the father would have no enforceable parenting rights until they are established by a court. If a man is not married to a child's mother when the child is born, he can become the "legal" father through the "Recognition of Parentage" (ROP) process or by Court Order. However, such an adjudication still bestows no custody or parenting time rights on the father. To get a Court Order establishing paternity and establishing custody or parenting time, the father must commence an action for paternity, or where paternity is established, for custody and parenting time, in the local District Court of the county where the child lives.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    You must file immediately a Petition for Custody and get the Court to enter an order - after a hearing with evidence why you should have custody with only visitation for the father - that gives you custody. You are correct to worry about father taking off with the child, with no court order in place you each have just as much right to take the child as the other, so get into Court immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    In Michigan, you need to get an order from the court that provided a divorce barring your ex-husband from taking your child. If you have not filed for divorce, you should do so and seek full custody. If there is not divorce, you should seek and order of paternity and custody in the court in the county where you live.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/25/2012
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