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originallawyer, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 879
Experience:  9+ years of experience in divorce, custody battles and mediation.
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My daughters father has not contacted me since January 2015.

Customer Question

My daughters father has not contacted me since January 2015. He has never met his daughter and never asks about her. He emailed me Friday and did not mention his daughter. Can I just ignore him? Or can that be used against me?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for your question! I am working on your answer. This service is for information only. I cannot give you legal advice. Please stand by!

Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

Unless you are under a court order to respond to him via email, then you're not doing anything legally wrong. He could always TRY to use it against you, but if this is the first time he's contacted you in almost a year and he didn't inquire about his child, it's unlikely that he'd be successful. It would depend on the nature of the email, but it's unlikely.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
No court order, we've never contacted courts or a lawyer. And the email was just asking if I remembered him and asking how I am doing, no mention of his child at all.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

I doubt you have much to worry about then. If you don't feel comfortable responding, you do not legally have to.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I just found a facebook message from him, but it is from someone else's facebook. That message does mention my daughter, and says it is a follow up to the email. It was sent within 30 mins of the email.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

If there are no court orders, you're still likely not going to have any issues. He might say at some point that you were trying to keep her away from him, but he's going to have a hard time making that argument if it's been almost two years since he last contacted you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
That is what I am thinking too. And I have never blocked communication (except for facebook- but who doesn't block their ex??). I have the same number, the same email, the same address- he had plenty of ways to contact me in those 2 years.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

Yeah, I think you're okay from a legal standpoint. He has had what he needs to contact you and if he wanted to do so, he could have before now. Although, do be prepared that he may decided to involve a court and attorney at some point if he keeps contacting you and gets no response. It may be in your best interest to respond to him to find out what he wants, so that you're not surprised by a court case.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
If he keeps contacting me, I would actually answer him. He has a history of "pretending to care". So this could have stemmed from a little guilt from the holidays and being around family. If he contacts me again, I would try to see what he wanted. But I don't see how one day of sending me messages warrants a response from me. I really just need to find out what my options are for dealing with this.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

At this point it's completely up to you. You're not obligated to respond.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
If he is not listed on the birth certificate, does he have any rights to her? Like can he show up somewhere and take her from me? That is one of my fears. If he ever wants actual custody of her, won't he have to take me to court to prove that he is her father? I have never taken him to court to child support. He has never paid a dime for her. There is zero documentation that she is his kid. I kept it that way and done without child support, because I know he didn't want anything to do with her, but he would do it on spite.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

If he's not on the birth certificate, he's not the legal father. He would have to go court and have a Judge declare him the legal father. This would likely involve a DNA test. And then he'd probably be ordered to pay child support as well.

Now: That being said, if she's in daycare/school or something like that, you need to make sure that they are aware that he has no privileges to pick her up. He does not have any legal right to pick her up, but unfortunately, sometimes people don't ask for proof or disregard pick up permission lists, etc. It's better to be proactive on that front.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
That is what I thought. My mom actually watches her during the day while I am at work. So she is at home all day. So my thought is that I have all of the control over her until he takes me to court to prove he is her father. If he contacts me again, I will talk to him and see what we can work out. But he o't have any rights to her until he takes me to court. And when he does that- I will want child support. Do they usually make them pay back child support as well or that a case by case thing?Is there some law or something that says I can get in trouble for not filing for child support? Because technically that is my daughters money.
Expert:  originallawyer replied 10 months ago.

No, you can't get in trouble for not asking for child support. If you ever needed assistance from the State (food stamps, etc), you would probably be asked to start the process because the State doesn't want to support your child if there's another person in the picture could be legally obligated to do so. But if you're making it fine on your own and able to provide for her without his help, you're not breaking any laws.

You probably won't get any back support. Courts usually don't give back support when the alleged father has been known all along, and the other parent has made a choice to not pursue support.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I used WIC for a year through the state, they asked if her father was around and I told them no (because he hasn't been). But other than that, I support her on my own with my full time job.