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Michael, Legal Consultant
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 456
Experience:  Expert witness in Federal court, won cases at State lower & appellate levels.
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I have taken care of my child since birth (2 yrs 10 mo) and ...

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I have taken care of my child since birth (2 yrs 10 mo) and my name is XXXXX XXXXX cert. She is not biologically mine and now her mother and I are divorcing. Do I still have paternal rights to my daughter? Her biological father has known about her since conception and has never had anything to do with her until now.


Generally courts look at more than just biology in cases such as you describe.

Given that your name is XXXXX XXXXX birth certificate, you have had custody of her along with the mother for the last 34 months, have cared for her, provided both emotional and financial support since birth, and the biological father has had no involvement during the 34 months period, you should not have a problem obtaining joint custody and visitation exactly as if you were also the biological father.

While biology and paternity testing is helpful in some cases, ultimately it is the care and support (financial and emotional) that children need. Courts have always recognized this and will consider this as a more important factor when consider who the father is than simple biology.

So even you should be able to petition the appropriate family court in either WA or CA for the court to settle issues of custody, child support, and visitation without much difficulty proving that you are the true father of this child.

The biological father may be granted visitation, but it is unlikely he would be granted even joint custody (either physical or legal) given the fact that he has chosen not to be involved in his child's life for first (almost) 3 years.

The only exception is he could show *good cause" why he was not involved with the child. Being addicted to drugs, unemployed, having had a restraining order against him placed by the mother, etc. are not considered cause for essentially abandoning his child for almost 3 years.

So you should approach the process as though you are the father of this child as though any other father would. That is most likely the way the judge is going to view you.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this.

Good luck,


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