How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask socrateaser Your Own Question

socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33515
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My boyfriend has a son who just turned 1 Friday. The mother

Resolved Question:

My boyfriend has a son who just turned 1 Friday. The mother of the child didn't put him on the birth certificate but he has paid her child support since the birth and sees the child when she will allow it which isn't often. She lives an hour and a half away and is now moving almost 3 hours away to live with her parents. Her fathered molested her as a child but no charges were ever filed. He has text messages and emails from her about the molesting and he actually spoke with her father who admitted to molesting her as a child. Could he file for custody bc she has the child living with her father who molested her when she was a child?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

When you say that your boyfriend pays child support, do you mean that he pays "court ordered" child support, or that he voluntarily pays support without a court order?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He pays without a court order.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Okay thanks!

1. Since he is not on the birth certificate and no court order has ever been made re custody, support or paternity, your son is a "legal stranger" to the child. He is not the child's parent and he has no rights whatsoever, until his biological connection to the child is established in court.

2. If he can prove that he has been paying "support" (really just a gift to the other parent), and that he has tried to maintain a parental relationship with the child, then he can file a petition for paternity, custody and support, and once his paternity is formally establshed by DNA testing, the court is very likely to award substantial custody -- even without proof that the mother is choosing to move in with a parent who is an alleged child molester.

3. The problem here should be obvious. If the mother were to admit that her father molested her as a child, then the father would throw her out on the street. But, if your son has email from the mother about molestation, and those emails are still on a commercial web server (e.g., hotmail, gmail. yahoo.com, etc.), where the email can be authenticated, then that would be extremely good evidence to prevent the child from being moved into that environment -- and it would increase your son's chances of getting additional custody rights.

Your son needs to hire a lawyer. If he can afford one, then see this link. If he cannot, then see this link.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He also has text messages from her threatening to kill herself. She was arrested on a warrant in march but we don't know for what. She was released the same day is all we know. He has kept all proof of payments on the money he has given her and takes pics of him with the child each time she allows him to see him. If she doesn't live with her father who she claims molested her but allows him to be around the child could he still get custody? And he has saved every text and email from her. She also sent him a pic of her smoking maraguan while she was pregnant which he also saved.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Txt messages are very difficult to authenticate in court, so while I won't say the messages are usless, I will say that the court could decide that they're not sufficently trustworthy to admit into evidence.

An arrest, without a conviction also has little weight in court.

Proof of payment is great. Photos with the child is also great -- shows a caring parental relationship is already established.

Marijuna photo while pregnant -- that would impress me if I were the judge reviewing a custody request. Shows that the parent doesn't care about the child, and may have a substance abuse problem.

Pretty good stuff, in my opinion.

Re who gets custody, legally, mother already has custody. Your son is entitled to joint custody or visitation, and it is extremely unlikely that the mother would lose custody. The question will be who should be the day-to-day caregiver. That's up to the court, and the judge will want to review all of the facts. The most interesting evidence -- to me -- is the marijuana smoking while pregnant. That shows a pretty careless attitude towards her child.

Your son will have to put it all in front of the judge and see what happens. I don't think any single fact would cause the court to make a decision. Your son would need evidence of ongoing criminal activity, recent child abuse by the mother, or serious mental or physical disability, which would make it difficult or impossible to care for the child in a consistent manner.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But with the evidence he has about her choice to live with her father who she claims in emails molested her as a child he could have a good chance at becoming the person the child resides with?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
What you have to prove is that the mother's choices are routinely not in the child's best interests:

1. smoked marijuana while child was pregnant
2. has made no effort to legally bring the father into the child's life
3. intends to move in with grandparent who mother alleges is a child molestor
4. mother threatens suicide
5. seeks to relocate farther away from child's father
6. was arrested on warrant for [hopefully some dangerous criminal activity]

None of this, by itself is a case. Everything, put together, starts to show a pattern of risky conduct. If father can provide a more stable environment, then he may be a better choice.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With there being a sense of urgency to establish DNA since she is moving in with her father she claims molested her would he be able to get the court to put a rush on the results? It takes 6 months on average where we live to get the results back bc the list is so backed up. Or could he contact child protective services and get them involved in order to speed up the process?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
If your son takes the position that the child is his, and that he needs to obtain a judgment from the court immediately, because otherwise the child will be placed in an environment with a person who the mother claims is a child molester, then I believe that the court would make orders to either get the DNA test done immediately, or prohibit the child from residing with the alleged molester.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One last thing, if he does nothing and her father does end up doing something to the child can he be held responsible in any way where he has knowledge that her father molested her and he took no action to remove the child from the situation by filing for custodial parent? If it comes out in court if something happened could he and the mother both be in legal trouble for allowing the child to be put in harms way?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
One last thing, if he does nothing and her father does end up doing something to the child can he be held responsible in any way where he has knowledge that her father molested her and he took no action to remove the child from the situation by filing for custodial parent?

A: No, because at this time, your son is a legal stranger. He owes the child nothing more than any other complete stranger. In fact, he may end up getting a DNA test and discovering that the child isn't actually his. This may seem inconceivable, but I can tell you from experience, that it happens all the time.

If it comes out in court if something happened could he and the mother both be in legal trouble for allowing the child to be put in harms way?

A: Your son is not at risk. Period.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33515
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 6 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
< Last | Next >
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney and Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    6424
    27+ years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6336
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    5987
    I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5773
    JD, 15 years legal experience including family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BrianTMayer/2010-01-06_200119_BM.jpg Brandon M.'s Avatar

    Brandon M.

    Family Law Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3810
    Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TU/TUSA/2012-6-6_55219_test.64x64.png Thoreau (T-USA)'s Avatar

    Thoreau (T-USA)

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2634
    Attorney