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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102145
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My son has asked me to seek information on a couple of related

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My son has asked me to seek information on a couple of related issues. Currently living in Arizona. He has been living with his fiancé a little over a year, she is due to deliver their baby in about 10 days. She has made his life miserable - she now refuses to marry him, frequently threatens to leave if she doesn't get her way, does not want to give the baby his name (but will gladly name him as father so he can pay child support). He has provided 100% of the support for her and her daughter (other than what this woman takes from ACCESS (sp)). She is not a very good mother, her 7 year old misses a lot of school so she can stay home and take care of her! The child is not allowed to have friends over or be involved in extracurricular activities. On a side note - this Mom's uncle is a Superior Court Judge for family law in the same county.
BotXXXXX XXXXXne is he wants the child to have his name, and he wants full custody. What can he do now and/or in the future to make that happen?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your son's situation. Can you please tell me: does she have any history of alcohol/drugs/extensive criminal behavior or mental issues?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I don't know about drugs. She was a heavy drinker before getting pregnant, and has severe anxiety (suffers from frequent panic attacks). I am pretty sure she has a clean criminal record.
Thank you, J. I am typing out your answer now; apologies in advance for the momentary wait while I am doing so...
J,

First of all, understand that there is little that he can do BEFORE the child is born in regards XXXXX XXXXX with the Court. A complaint for custody may only be filed ONCE the child is born. At the moment, he can perhaps build his case by recording/investigating her past.

CUSTODY
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc. Specifically, the enumerated factors are:

1. The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody.
2. The wishes of the child as to the custodian.
3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
4. The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent.
7. Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the child.
8. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding custody.
9. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.
10. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect. (Arizona Statutes - Title 25 - Chapters: 401)

The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child unless both parents agree and as for this.

One parent usually becomes the custodian and the other parent becomes the "visiting" parent which is generally one day a week, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The nuanced points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.

Even if a parent does not get managing custody, they are almost guaranteed visitation unless they have a drug problem, alcohol dependency, or an unsafe home environment. Abuse and or neglect of the child or previous children are an almost automatic bar for even visitation, although supervised visitation may be granted by the Court.

Of course, that is the standard order of possession. That order can be modified if both parties agree or if the Court finds that it is an extraordinary situation.

The visiting parent pays child support to the custodian, unless the custodian declines it. See here. But this can be altered if both parties agree to a lesser or higher amount or do not put child support in the orders all-together; the Court will only impose default child support if the parties cannot agree.

Now the court does not technically differentiate between mother and father when deciding on custody. But frankly speaking, with a newborn, the mother is HEAVILY favored unless he can show drug abuse, neglect of the child, etc. So he will have to show some serious questionable parenting by her. Perhaps he can wait to file until the child is a bit older for a better chance.

NAME
This is almost secondary. The Court will decide this in the custody petition based on "best interest" doctrine. It is purely the Judge's call and can vary. If he gets custody, there is a larger chance the Court will agree to have the child have his name, although plenty of Judges also grant that honor to the father even if he does not get formal custody.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So to summarize, it would be in his best interest to start gathering and documenting information or facts that may be seen as detrimental including the care she currently provides as a custodial parent, continue providing for a stable household, and seek out a good lawyer as soon as the baby is born.
J,

So to summarize, it would be in his best interest to start gathering and documenting information or facts that may be seen as detrimental including the care she currently provides as a custodial parent, continue providing for a stable household, and seek out a good lawyer as soon as the baby is born.

RIGHT. In fact, he can seek out an attorney now if he wants to, and be ready to go once the child is born, or soon after.

Well said.

Often overlooked facts:
1) People's Facebook can do a lot of damage. Pagecaps with her linking vulgar matters, cursing, displaying poor taste, etc, helps.

2) Witnesses in terms of friends can also be helpful.

3) Any drug use should immediately be reported anonymously to the authorities to "beef up" one's standing when it comes time for a custody battle.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. You have been quite helpful. I appreciated the legal references ("the why"), however my son will do best with "the what", therefore the summary :)

Nice tips! Now if I can just figure out how to save this info.

Have a great day.
My pleasure. Exactly. I don't just want you to know "what," but also "why" so the decisions made may be informed. Your kind words are appreciated.

Nice tips! Now if I can just figure out how to save this info.

PRINT or COPY AND PASTE.

You may print the page by using the "share" button in the bottom right hand corner of the initial question box. If you hover your mouse over it, you will see a print icon. OR, you can highlight the text using the mouse, CONTROL+C to copy, and CONTROL+V to paste into a word processor.

Have a great day.

You too! Good luck, and please don't forget to rate my answer in one of top three faces and then SUBMIT – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please REPLY to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.
Ely and 6 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Wouldn't allow me "access" to give you a happy face!

J, Gasp! To arms! (Just kidding). Thanks for letting me know - I'll send the technicians a note. Have a good one (and let me know if you need anything else).