What are the rights of a parent who has never met the child? 4 Answers as of June 21, 2011

My daughter has never met her father. He's not on the birth certificate and has never paid child support. Does he have any rights to her? She is 4. Can I move out of town without his consent?

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You can move out of town without his consent. He has evidently no interest in his daughter, given his lack of contact and support throughout her life. He would have to seek parental rights from the Court, and given his history, it is unlikely that he would do so.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Komanapalli Massey LLP
Komanapalli Massey LLP | Mark A. Massey, Esq.
Case law of this issue is funny, but not to fathers sometimes. There is what is known as a "Kelsey father," which term arose from a case called "In re Kelsey S." A Kelsey father is one who has been denied the right to establish his paternity by the mother.If a man has no reason to know that he is a father and the mother actively conceals the fact from the child's father, you have a pretty good case for arguing that the father is a Kelsey S. father who must be permitted to establish paternity and to assume a significant role in his child's life.On the other hand, courts have found that a man who has had unprotected sex, and perhaps even sex with birth control, has reason to know that he might be a father, and thus, he has a duty to make active efforts to locate the woman to find out. If he makes no efforts to locate the woman, then he cannot be a Kelsey S. father even if the mother has not told him that he is a father or where his child is located. So, if the father of your child has made no efforts to locate you,and thereby, his child as well, then he cannot become a Kelsey S. father even if you have moved out of state (yes, you may even move across the world if you like) and made efforts to conceal his child. That is an element of becoming a Kelsey S. father then, active efforts to locate the child. Now,if your child is old enough to be allowed some say in the matter,usually around 12 years old, then he might not want to meet even his qualified Kelsey S. father. A court would take that into consideration in deciding whether the child's best interests would include allowing the newly established father to be allowed a significant role in the child's life. Chances are, the court would allow the father to start slowly,with monitored visits in a child friendly, neutral therapeutic setting. But, he would likely be permitted to work into a greater role over time by such means.Has the father of your child made any efforts to find out whether he is a father?If so, has he made attempts to locate you? If the answer to either question is no, then he will have problems.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/15/2011
The English Law Firm
The English Law Firm | Robert English
He does have rights but there are no orders unless he files a case to establish parentage and seek custody/visitation orders. You can move relatively freely. He does always retain the right to seek an order in the court, however.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
If there are no orders and paternity has not been established, then that person (who should probably not be called dad) has no rights. You can move out of town without his consent.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
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