Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.
Can you give me a few more details about your situation?
Your partner is still pregnant, correct?
Will you be the biological parent of the child?
Are you married or in a civil union with your partner?
Ok, from a purely legal perspective, a bio father doesn't have any legally established rights until the child is actually born. This is because there is no guarantee of a live birth.
With that said, assuming that there is a live birth, you can have the paperwork ready to immediately file a custody action for your child if you can prove that the mother is somehow unfit to have custody. This is kind of a tough requirement to meet unless there is something concrete like a history of abuse, convictions, drug use, mental incompetency, etc. so as to tip the scales in your favor for being the primary custodial parent.
When the child is born, you would want to make sure that you either signed the birth certificate or signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital so as to make you the presumptive legal father.
What that does is establishes your rights as equal to those of the mother. What that further means is that once she is released from the hospital with the child, then you have exactly equal custodial rights as the mother. So if you were in physical custody of the child and refused to return the child to the mother, then she can't force you to do so without a court order granting her physical custody... But you have to make sure you are listed on the birth certificate as the father or sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital..
The problem here is that abuse towards you wouldn't necessarily make her an unfit parent... There has to be something that would show her as an unfit parent, like abuse or neglect of her other child, drug or alcohol abuse, lots of criminal convictions, etc. so her judgment could be called into question as a parent..
And unfortunately, the hospital won't contact a potential father simply because of the HIPAA privacy rights of the mother.. So you would have to somehow monitor the situation from afar if you aren't together and her family won't keep you in the loop..
I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience,even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...
You are very welcome. Glad to help any time.. I will keep my fingers crossed for you...
All the best to you and yours.