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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33768
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience
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I'm a single dad, never married. I have my three daughters

Customer Question

I'm a single dad, never married. I have my three daughters with me and want them to live with me. I have enrolled my child in school where I live. Now the mother is threatening kidnapping charges and filing for custody.She is financially unstable but thinks they should live with her. Can she file kidnapping charges and do I have the right to have my kids live with me?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

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.

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Are you on the birth certificate for the children or did you sign an acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital?

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Where have the children lived most of their lives?

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Is there any type of custody order in place now?

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How about child support?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm on all their birth certificates.They have lived with their mother and I most of their lives. I moved for a job to provide a better life for my kids and their mother did not want to come and decided to leave me.There is no type of custody order in place right now.There is no court ordered child support. I have been paying for everything ( rent, utilities, etc.) since I've been up here. She makes no contribution.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

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.

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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.

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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.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Do I need to file custody where I live in order to keep the kids with me?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

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..

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So you can secure the "home field advantage" by filing before she does.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is there a standard form the court needs me to fill out? Is this form some I can find and print online?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

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.

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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.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm referring to child custody since paternity has already been established. Will they have a specific form for custody and, if so, is it possible to print these forms online and turn them in to the court?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

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.

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So you have to file the entire paternity case and along with that you seek sole physical custody of the children.

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thanks

Barrister