My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
What the judge is trying to figure out is what is in the best interests of your son. The judge isn't allowed to give either of you preference over the other parent because of gender. So, being the mother
unfortunately doesn't give you the right to make any demands - the judge has to follow the law. But you can request that the father receive only visitation, not joint custody, and you can support that request with whatever facts will help your case.
The judge has to consider the following factors, listed on the court's website:
1. The age of the child.
2. The relationship of the child's parents and any other persons who may significantly affect the child's welfare.
3. The preference of the child, if old enough to express a meaningful preference;
4. The duration and adequacy of the child's current living arrangements and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
5. The stability of any proposed living arrangements for the child;
6. The motivation of the parties involved and their capacities to give the child love, affection and guidance.
7. The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community.
8. The capacity of each parent to allow and encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent, including physical stress.
9. The capacity of each parent to cooperate in childcare.
10. Methods for assisting parental cooperation and resolving disputes and each parent's willingness to use these methods;
11. The effect on the child if one parent has sole authority over the child's upbringing;
12. History of Domestic Violence
13. All other factors having reasonable bearing on the physical and psychological well-being of the child.
If the reason the father has never seen the child is that you moved away, that fact doesn't necessarily help you. But if he made no effort to see his son before the move, that could help. Airlines won't transport a child that young without a parent, so the judge also has to consider the logistics of visitation. You can request that visits occur in California, especially if there's any reason to worry that the father might take the child to West Virginia and not return.
Also, since the father isn't listed on the birth certificate, you can insist upon a paternity test
to verify that he is the father before he's allowed any visitation at all.
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