What are my options to get custody of my baby? 21 Answers as of July 09, 2013

I am 19 and 7 months pregnant the father wants to take me to court for custody. I live at home and I have a stable job and go to college. I'm 7 months pregnant and the father has never offered to help economically. He's 18 lives at home has a good stable job and now wants to take me to court for custody. What are my options when it comes to custody over the baby?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
First, get a lawyer. Both you and the father have equal rights until a court rules otherwise. So, if one of you shows up without a lawyer, guess who gets the short end?
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/30/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
A court makes custody determinations based on the particular facts of the case and what a court believes is in the child's best interests.. To prepare your case, you should consult with an attorney regarding the details of your matter.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/29/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Simply put, you have two options: do nothing unless and until the man actually does carry out his threat to go to court, or take the initiative and begin court action yourself. You really have nothing to gain by taking the initiative because until a judge rules that he is the father, he has absolutely no rights except the right to go to court and you are in complete control. Unless you agree to have his name put on the birth certificate, there isn't even a presumption that he is the father. If and when a paternity case is started, the court will have to adopt a suitable parenting plan that sets out the rules about where the baby resides most of the time and when the baby resides with the other parent. Those decisions will be made based on what is in the child's best interest. But, if he is actually the father and genuinely wants to be an involved parent, a judge will most likely permit him to be involved because the law presumes that the first thing that is best for a child is to have two involved and loving parents. The details of that involvment depend on many factors and can be expected to change as the child grows older and develops.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/29/2011
Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
He must first establish that he is the father. He can sign the voluntary declaration of paternity when your child is born, or establish paternity through the courts. Either way, you are going to have to allow him visitation of some type at some point. Also consider these things: 1. Having a baby, going to college, and working are going to keep your schedule pretty full. 2. You will very likely need help, and hopefully you two can work things out so that your childcare costs are not swallowing up your income. 3. Going to college and focusing on your studies are going to be quite difficult, even without the distraction of a custody fight. 4. You will not be able to keep him away forever. 5. The best situation for your child in this case is that (s)he have two parents that love her/him unconditionally. 6. The more peaceful you can resolve your differences with dad, the better for everyone (and cheaper), especially your child. You are going to be dealing with him for a very long time.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/9/2013
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
First of all he can't petition for custody of an unborn child. Once the child is born if he did decide to petition for custody he would have to prove that he is a better fit parent than you are to care for the child. Based upon the information that you have given me, that is not the case.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/26/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    First of all, the paternity of the child needs to be established, legally, after the child is born. This is accomplished either by both of you signing an affidavit of parentage or by a court proceeding which results in a court order determining the father of the child, Then a proceeding to establish custody and parenting time. I doubt that a court would give sole physical custody of a newborn to the father. You would have to have a pretty bad background for that to happen (substance abuser, alcoholic, prostitute etc.)
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    When the child is born you have SOLE custody of the child. The court process is the only way for father to establish his rights. However, child bonding at such a young age is critical, for both of you, also regular/same place for child to sleep at night. It may be that the child is with you, but he has certain hours to visit, then later certain hours to pick up/drop off, and eventually overnight.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    He can not file for custody until after the birth of the baby. He is files for custody then you need to get an attorney to help you with this.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    These are always tough cases. In theory, each parent has as much right to the child as the other and the court must determine what timesharing schedule is in the best interest of the child. If you are planning on breast feeding, which all the studies show are in the best interest of the child, you are at a natural advantage. I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You have numerous procedural and legal options. One way of resolving the differences with the Father is to use the Collaborative Law process to address them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Very limited visitation initially. I would contact an attorney experienced with your local court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    The first step is to determine if he is the biological father of the child. I would start with genetic testing once you give birth. After that, he will need to file a motion for custody and visitation orders if he is the father. You don't have to do anything other than respond to his motions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    The most logical option is that you would be the primary custodial parent and you and the father would develop an age appropriate parenting plan for the infant. That parenting plan can evolve with the maturation of the child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    You have sole custody until paternity is established in court. After that it is likely to be joint custody.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    You need to confer with a family law firm that can answer all of your questions. Too much at stake to answer in an email. However, some general information. You or the father need to go to court to establish paternity and then the court can issue child custody and child support orders. Until that happens you will not be legally getting any child support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    After the child is born, you should retain a family law attorney to help you establish custody and child support. Your options for custody will depend on the circumstances of your situation, which should be discussed in detail with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You have no problem at all at this time. You are worrying about a non-existent problem. Stop doing that. Until and unless he files a legitimization he CANNOT have any custody or visitation rights. You cannot react to a case that does not exist. At this time you do nothing at all as you presently have "won." Should he file, ignoring that it is extremely unlikely a father would win a child from a nursing mother, you get a lawyer at that time. The fact that he is already a deadbeat dad and is not paying maternity expenses will help show that he is unfit, and, after the child is born, may land him in prison.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you hire a family law attorney concerning all your rights and options, particularly if he files a legitimation/child custody case. Good luck and best wishes!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You can ask for primary custody and for the court to give him visitation but to award you primary care. If you will breastfeed, this will also help you since the time father would get might be limited due to the baby's need to feed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/26/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    The father can commence a paternity action and seek a parenting plan. The Court will implement a plan in the best interests of the child. From you facts, I do not believe you have much to worry about, although the father will have visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/26/2011
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