Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
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Are you on the birth certificate for the children or did you sign an acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital?
Where have the children lived most of their lives?
Is there any type of custody order in place now?
How about child support?
Ok, if there is no child custody order in place right now, then by law you both have exactly equal rights to the children. So that means that whoever has physical custody of the children has the legal right to continue and the other parent can't force them to return the children without a court order.
Since the mother knows where you are living and that you have the children, this would not be parental kidnapping as that only occurs when one parent takes the kids without any right and seeks to hide them from the other parent permanently.
So her threats are idle and her only recourse is to file a paternity action in court and try to get custody. But if she has no stable financial resources and no stable housing, then she will have an uphill battle if you are stable and she might end up paying child support to you.
You don't have to, as you are already a custodial parent by default, but that would be a good idea if you don't have any type of custodial order in place because you will essentially ambush her by doing so and fix the jurisdiction where you are living instead of where she is. Then she will have to come to you to fight about anything rather than you going to her..
So you can secure the "home field advantage" by filing before she does.
If you are referring to the paternity case, then yes there are standard forms that the clerk of the family court will have, but you have to file them personally with the clerk in the case. They typically have them in a packet of forms in the paternity court division and they contain the petition, a summons, and the financial information forms you need to file and to serve on the mother that she has to fill out and file with the court.
So I would suggest visiting your local court and asking for the Family Court or Paternity Court division and then getting the forms packet from them so you are assured you have everything. They typically also have an instructions sheet and a checklist of things you need to complete and file along with your petition.
Child custody goes through the same division as paternity. The judge will likely require a court ordered DNA test to confirm paternity because sometimes the person on the birth certificate isn't the actual biological father (it happens). So once the paternity is confirmed, the judge can then enter a custody order and support order.
So you have to file the entire paternity case and along with that you seek sole physical custody of the children.