If I want full custody of my unborn child and I'm 5 months pregnant, what steps should I take? 6 Answers as of June 06, 2013

I'm 17, the guy is 22. I knew him for 1 week. I was not willing to have sex. I filed charges against him for sexual battery but it never went anywhere. He is in jail right now for his 7th battery charge. He got sentenced 6 months. He goes to court soon while in jail for this battery charge. He is going for burglary of a conveyance, tampering with a victim, and corruption by threat but this charge was dropped. He also has 10-15 other felonies. I have a text message from him saying he wants me and the baby to drop dead. I don't have a record. I've never done anything wrong. I'm starting college. I had a job until I got too far into pregnancy. I have a stable place to live. He has no place to live, doesn't have a job, and will be in jail or prison for the first year of my child's life. Is there any way he could get visitation? Would they really put a child in that situation? I don't want him to know his dad at all. It's unhealthy and he is a dangerous person.

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Moore Legal Solutions
Moore Legal Solutions | Mike Moore
I am sorry for what you have suffered at the hands of this apparently very bad person. Generally speaking, you bring an action seeking to terminate a father's parental rights if he VOLUNTARILY goes six consecutive months without visiting with your child or providing support for him or her. However, he really has no parental rights in the first place unless you list him on the birth certificate and are willing to state that the father unknown when you apply for the same. In such a case, you would certainly still need to obtain a restraining order against him should he later decide he wants to see the child he views as his own. You should get the restraining order now and not rely upon any bond restriction related to his criminal matter(s) as those will expire upon the disposition of the criminal charge. In such a case, to establish any parental rights to visitation or otherwise, this guy would would have to petition the family court for visitation, etc, and seek a determination of parentage through genetic testing. If he does that and pays support, you will have a fight on your hands when it comes to denying him any access to this child. Also, if you are receiving government benefits such as medicaid, etc., beware that if the govt gets wind that you are aware who the father is, they may insist on pursuing him for child support, and in that case, genetic testing to determine parentage will be ordered as a matter of course. Again, the stage would be set for the father asking for involvement in your child's life. Of course, I have only provided you with you with very general information which is not intended as legal advice. Hence, no one should rely and act upon my commentary, but instead should directly consult with a attorney of his or her choosing before taking any of the legal steps discussed.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 6/6/2013
Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
You do not need to be anxious about this right now. You are worrying about something that most likely will not happen . Good for you for keeping the baby and you will have custody without any challenges.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/6/2013
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
Unless and until the father files a legitimation action, which it doesn't sound like he will, he has no rights to the child, and you automatically have sole legal and physical custody by operation of law; you don't have to do anything. Don't sign any legitimation documents at the birth and if you do get served with legal papers, contact a lawyer immediately.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/6/2013
GordenLaw, LLC
GordenLaw, LLC | Vanessa J. Gorden
First, I am sorry to hear that you are going through all of this at such a young age. If you and the father are not married, you are the default custodian of your baby. However, the father can file a paternity action to establish his right to parenting time (visitation), but he would also then have to pay child support, which makes his initiation of legal proceedings somewhat unlikely. You could initiate paternity proceedings to formally establish custody, of course, but you may not wish to do that if you do not want to have contact with the father and are not in need of his support. The primary difficulty you may run into is if you need any assistance from the State of Nebraska, in which case, the state attorneys will file paternity and child support on behalf of the child. You may wish to consult with a lawyer in your area further to have a plan in place that fits your specific situation. Your parents may also need to be involved as the age of majority in Nebraska is 19 years. This Web site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and GordenLaw, LLC. The Answer given above does not constitute legal advice and is designed to provide general knowledge only. The Attorney responding above is not able to advise you specifically about your issue without further details of your case and establishing an attorney-client representation.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 6/6/2013
Law Offices of Mark Schondorf
Law Offices of Mark Schondorf | Mark Schondorf
Unfortunately, if he's willing to admit that he is the father, he will have a right to visit his child. If you have serious concerns about your child's safety, the court can make the visits supervised by a family member, you, or an independent 3rd party. Visitation will be precluded only if you can show the court that the child will certainly be put in danger, and generally that requires some sort of pattern of abuse. In order to get sole custody, you have to show that it is in the best interest of the child, which shouldn't be too difficult in this case, especially if he is in jail.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/6/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    It would appear that you have a very good case for sole custody. Given the circumstances it may well be that you can have his visitation be severely limited, and in fact even have him ordered to have no contact due to the assaultive nature of the pregnancy. I am surprised that he has not been charged with rape which would seem to be appropriate under the circumstances. You might wish to speak with the local police or prosecutor on the sexual battery case. Even though he may be stripped of his parental rights, it is possible that he could be required to pay support. I would very strongly suggest that you counsel with attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/6/2013
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