Will the judge let him have visitation rights even though we live in different states and she doesn't even know him or about him? 3 Answers as of November 29, 2016

My child's father hasn't seen our daughter since she was 1 and 1/2 years old. She is now 6 years old and we haven't had any contact until recently. He is on the birth certificate but is not paying child support and my boyfriend for over 4 years wants to adopt her. We have two children together. The biological dad lives in another state. In 2013 my daughter, boyfriend and I moved to another state for his job and we just recently relocated this year. We want him to hand over his rights and he said that he won't unless he gets to see her. What rights does he have since he's no longer in her life? Will I, the mother of our child, get in trouble since I took our child out of the state? I've asked him for years for child support but every time he would quit his job. He also texted me when my daughter was one and we were not together and said that he was going to kill himself because I was not letting him be around my daughter. I went to the police and made a police report. He recently told me that he faked trying to kill himself from popping pills to get my attention to see if I cared about him. I was at the police station when police barged into his house and arrested him and brought him to the hospital. He is very unstable mentally, a chronic liar and doesn't have a stable living condition. Will they grant him half custody of her? I tried to file for child support around 2 years ago and I went to court and he missed the court date, I found out later that he was in jail because he stole money from someone I used to know! And he also stole over a thousand dollars from my parents as well!

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
If he is the father he has all the rights of a father until a court says otherwise. You obviously do not want him to see the child, but is that what is good for the child or just what is good for you? Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you want to go to court on this, that is the question the Judge will answer so you need to do some soul searching for the answer first. Now, you did not ask, but a better question is what can you do to get a step-parent adoption approved. In other words can you force a termination in a court of law.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 11/29/2016
Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
In order to have visitation rights the bio father first needs to become the legal father. He or you would have to go to court to establish that. It is unclear whether the court ordered him to pay child support. If it did, it would have first made him the legal father. However, even if that is done, one of you would have to file a petition to establish a residential schedule/parenting plan. No court will require the child to go to another state to see him if he hasn't seen the child for 4 years. What a court could allow is supervised visitation until she gets to know him with increased visitation over a period of time. You would remain the primary residential parent (assuming there is no problem in your household) and he would get some week end time and vacation/holiday time. However, all of this assumes that there are no major problems the court would consider dangerous to the child (e.g. violent crime history). If your current boyfriend wants to adopt your daughter he would have to file a second parent adoption. There will be a home study and if everything is OK the social worker would recommend it. Your lawyer would make a motion to terminate the parent/child relationship with the father, which he can either sign voluntarily (it would relieve him of the child support obligation) or the court can order it if he doesn't volunteer it. Asking him to relinquish his rights before an adoption is filed is meaningless and legally useless. The weakness in your adoption case is that you and the boyfriend are not married and therefore present a less than stable relationship. It's something you should consider before filing for an adoption.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/28/2016
Shimberg and Crohn, P.C. | Jonathan Shimberg
Your question raises many issues. If there was a court order for support entered in Illinois, your relocation out of Illinois is subject to question. If there was never any orders entered with regard to the child then your relocation is fine. You fail to identify where you lived, now live and where Dad is living, all of which are important. You and your boy friend can do an adoption without his signature. You have to prove a ground for adoption. Dad is entitled to be served with adoption papers and would have to come to the court where you file the adoption to contest it. He may well follow nothing and you boulder proceed with the adoption. He well contest, but you can then pursue him for his unpaid support, which he may be trying to avoid.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 11/28/2016
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