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I have a question pertaining to what rights I have as a

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I have a question pertaining to what rights I have as a father that was never married to the mother of my child and where the separation was smooth and we share rights but have never seemed legal council.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?

Nothing has been filed anywhere.

Lawyer's Assistant: Family law varies by state. What state are you in?

I live in Missouri and she lives in Kansas.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

We are to the point now where my daughter is going to start kindergarten in the fall and we cannot agree on where she should attend. I own my house and have for years. She lives with a married couple as a “third wheel” and lives under their roof.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Additionally, I pay for all insurance as well as a majority of all medical bills, paid for both years of preschool and after school care. We have a verbal agreement of having her one week on and one week off. With that being said, she had asked me to have her on days/weeks when she was supposed to do her and the married couple she is seeing can go off together.
To add to the school situation, I found a preschool that was between our houses that way we were both accommodated, however going forward her primary schooling needs to be in a fixed location so that she can be in a steady school-to-home environment.
Speaking with her mom, she has no plans on leaving this couple or changing. This is not ideal for the future development and growth of my daughter.Thank you for your advice,
Eric
Answered in 27 minutes by:
3/16/2018
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 4 months ago
Sean K
Sean K, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 870
Experience: Family Law Attorney in Private Law Firm
Verified

Hi, I’m Sean and I will be assisting you as an expert today. I’m an attorney with more than 20 years of experience. It is my goal to provide a solid overview of your situation. Whether the analysis is good or bad as to your matter, I want to make sure you understand any points you need and that you have options to better address the questions you have. If I am able, I will also provide you with some resources. Please note that the system, independent from me, may offer a phone call. You are not obligated to engage in a phone call, but I am happy to speak if you desire. This is completely up to you.

So to make sure I understand you situation, never married. Your daughter is approaching school age. Missouri and Kansas as states for each of you - you live in Missouri and she Kansas. Up to now there has been no formal agreement or court involvement. Correct?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
You are correct.
I have two main questions pertaining to my situation: 1. What are my rights as a father without going through the courts and in my current situation. and 2. In the event it does go to court, so that I can ensure my daughter goes to school here, which would inevitably be me applying for primary custody, what is the likelyhood of me succeeding?
Family Lawyer: Sean K, Family Law Attorney replied 4 months ago

Just because you were not married, this does not mean you have any less rights as a father.

Now, I do believe the best thing for people to do is work out problems without going to Court, but that being said, that can sometimes limit options.

The first thing that will be necessary to address here is that without a Court order things are a bit complicated. The fact you are in two different states adds some challenge. Given that the time has been shared, that may make the decision a tough one on which state. Since she has surrendered some of her time to you that may give Missouri the edge. The fact you have been paying bills helps you for Missouri as well.

This does not mean that you can't keep her in Missouri, but it does mean that if you decided to have her come to be with you and then did not follow an agreement to return her and sought to keep her without an agreement, this may cause the Mother to seek relief from a Kansas court.

The reason I point this out is that the custodial approaches are different in Kansas and Missouri. In Kansas, joint or shared custody is preferred. This means shared decisions with no tie breaker in the case of a dispute and one primary residence though the time may be close to equal. In Missouri there are more options particularly with regards ***** ***** making.

Now, do understand that even though there is no Court order, you have all of your parental rights - Period!

There are options without going to Court. You can simply address with the Mother a resolution. You can attend mediation an enlist the aid of a neutral party to attempt to work out an agreement that could be reduced to writing. Either of these will work, but without submitting it to a Court, even just for approval there is limited recourse if she does not follow the agreement. That being said, it is a normal process to reach an agreement and have it submitted to Court to formalize it.

If the matter does go to Court, you, as above, have all rights as a father. Both states specifically prohibit judges from awarding to a mother just because she is the mother.

The first step if you go to Court would be to contact an attorney who is familiar with both Missouri and Kansas law to determine the best state to pursue court action. This is imperative as there may be different approaches used in each state.

However, you lay out a more stable home environment and significant time all together. i have to be honest, the living with the couple is odd and does make me wonder about your daughter's well being in the future.

You are approaching this at the right time - school age. This is a good time to set thing up and have a formalized arrangement as she goes forward.

You would, prior to looking at starting a custody action, expand on what you have already done. Locate a school, make your home ready, locate a doctor, work on a time sharing/parenting arrangement with Mom, other things like this so you have a plan in place.

Do understand that just because you are a Dad does not mean you should not have primary custody. Many times it really means you should.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation.

If you have any follow up questions it would be my pleasure to answer them. As experts we only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate us positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! There is no cost associated with you rating me and you can still ask follow up questions after rating me and I will respond.

One final point, there may be a delay between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but rest assured, if you ask, I will provide an answer. Thank you again.

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