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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16623
Experience:  Licensed experienced Attorney
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My boyfriend and I recently split but we have a one year old

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My boyfriend and I recently split but we have a one year old daughter together. Since we split up, we now live far apart and he insists she spends equal amounts of time with us. We have decided to file for custody but I had a few questions. First, do we both have to file since we live in different counties? Also, he is planning on asking for joint custody but would do whatever the mediator said was best for our daughter. If we come to an agreement in mediation will we have to go to court still? And my last question: is it true that the child must stay with whoever files for custody first? My daughter is currently visiting with my ex and he refuses to give me a date that she will be returning to me. He said he is keeping her until mediation is handled and it's the law that she stay put. I have been told I cannot take her or do anything because he has equal rights since his name is XXXXX XXXXX birth certificate.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to answer your question.

I am sorry to hear about this difficult situation.

Is you and your boyfriend both live in California?

Was legal custody or visitation ever established for your daughter by the court?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes. we both currently live in California. We never established a custody agreement when she born but we did live together for almost a year and he is on the birth certificate.

Dear Yvette,

Thank you for your follow up.

Basically, until the legal custody / visitation is established by the court, both parents have equal rights to the custody of the child and if the child is currently in her father's custody, it would not be possible to get her removed from the father's custody without the court order, unless the father is causing harm to your daughter or pose a risk of potential immediate harm.

So basically, either parent can file a Petition for Child Custody Visitation and it does appear that your boyfriend might be misinforming you about child custody laws and manipulating you, so I would strongly urge you to immediately consult and retain an experienced local experienced child custody attorney to represent you in your upcoming child custody proceedings.

Even if you go to the mediation and agree on the child custody / visitation, such agreement would still have to be filed with the court and the court would have to review, approve and order such child custody / visitation agreement, before it becomes legally binding and enforceable.

I wish you the best of luck!
Alex J. Esq. and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Dear Yvette,

Do you have any related follow up questions for me?