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Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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My daughter is three years old. Her father, who is publicly

Customer Question

My daughter is three years old. Her father, who is publicly known for his drug abuse, has abandoned her to live in another state without even telling me where he was going. Now I've come to find that he apparently signed some legal document signing over HIS rights to his stepmother, who is now saying that I have to basically coparent with her about any decisions I make regarding my own daughter. I'm wondering if this is legitimate. And also, what my chances are of pursuing sole custody.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ellen replied 2 years ago.
** I provide legal information on line as a low cost public service. I do not represent you and no attorney/client relationship exists. Lic Ny, FL**
Thank you for your question. I look forward to providing you with information for educational purposes only.
Question: I'm wondering if this is legitimate.
Answer: It is not
Question: And also, what my chances are of pursuing sole custody.
Answer: Excellent
Here's why. As a parent you are the natural guardian of your child. Unless a court orders otherwise, you, as parent in possession of your child, have custody and can choose whether to allow the child to visit with the other parent or his extended family. You can relocate or travel with your child and deny visitation to the stepmother and to the father.
That said, I suggest that you apply for sole custody immediately. The safety of the child is the most important factor in determining custody. Under the circumstances you described, it is highly unlikely that a court would give your husband unsupervised visitation. That said, until the court grants you sole custody, it would typically be best not to allow the child unsupervised visitation with extended family or the other parent.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
A lawyer previously told me that even though we're engaged and have been together for more than a year, it would be difficult for me to win a custody case because we live together and that would be seen as a bad thing, as "shacking up" and that I should basically uproot mine and my daughters life and home just to have a shot at winning.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also, My child's father and I were never married.
Expert:  Ellen replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. My answer is unchanged by the additional information. A parent is the child's natural guardian unless the court determines the parent to be unfit. The fact that you were not married does not make you an unfit parent. It would be very likely that the court would award you full custody with only supervised visitation to the drug addicted father