Hi, I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. When a person avoids service, the party who is trying to serve them can actually file a motion asking them to pay for any additional costs or expenses associated with serving them. So while it seems counter-intuitive, accepting service and addressing the Petition head-on can actually save her time and money. She has a right to insist upon a paternity test
that proves the man is the father (even if she knows he is).The courts won't do anything else until paternity is established, but she can start thinking about how to frame her arguments. The law prefers a child to have a relationship with both parents whenever possible, so he's not likely to be able to take the child away from her completely. He may be entitled to shared custody (which doesn't have to mean equal or visitation
). The judge wants to know what's in the best interests of the child. At the end of the day, the judge is seeking to protect the child, not either parent, so that's the approach to take. What is best for the child is based on a number of factors, including:The relationship each parent has had with the child to date. Also the relationship with anyone else living with either parent.The preferences of the child, if he is old enough to express them (usually 8 or older).The age and health of each parent.Each parent's moral fitness to parent.The living situation of each parent as it relates to the child's health and safety.Whether either parent has a history of drug or alcohol addiction, child abuse, or a substantial criminal history.The older the child is, and the longer it's been since the father had any contact, the more likely he'd only be able to start with visitation rather than shared custody. And your daughter can also request that the judge make seeing the child contingent on the father paying child support
- whether she needs the money or not, it can help keep him away if he's not going to pay.