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I am looking for free advice on a custody issue. I am a

Customer Question
Hi, I am looking...

Hi, I am looking for free advice on a custody issue.

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

I am a single mom, I just recently got in contact with the father after he ignored and avoided me for over a year. I just want to know my options if he tries to get custody. He is currently not even on the birth certificate and living out of state.

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

I am in Massachusetts, he is in Wisconsin.

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

No I think that is the main parts.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 4 hours by:
3/23/2018
Family Lawyer: N.Brown ESQ, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
N.Brown ESQ
N.Brown ESQ, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 148
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Generally both biological parents have equal parental rights when it comes to their children. Now in your situation if the father where to file for custody it would have to be done in MA which would be considered the "home" state of the child. The fact that the father has not been involved, and is not on the birth certificate does not prevent him from filing for custody. Once the custody case is filed there are certain orders/determinations that the court has to make as part of the final custody judgment. The court has to decide physical custody (where and who the child will live with), legal custody (who has decision making authority on matters of healthcare, education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, access to school and medical records, etc.) and visitation. Let's look at each one at a time.

All of the decisions that the court has to make are based on what the court believes is/will be in the best interest of the child. Since you have been the primary care give, and the other party lives out of state, you will likely be given physical custody so the child will live with you. Unless the court can find legitimate reasons against it, the court will likely grant joint legal custody meaning both parties have decision making authority, but as the children live with you, the court might grant you final decision making authority. Since you will have physical custody, the father (the now non-custodial parent) will be awarded visitation. Since he lives out of state, that complicates visitation but the court will try and fashion orders that balance the father's need to spend time with the child along with what logistically makes most sense and is less of a disruption for the minor child. Because of the lack of time the father has had with the child, he likely will have to travel to MA to exercise his visitation, with that changing to allowing the child to travel to his home when the child gets older for extended periods during extended school breaks (summer, spring break, etc.)

Now you and the father are free, and encouraged to try and work out an agreement on custody, and visitation. If you do the court will accept it assuming they find it is in the best interest of the child, but if you can't come to an agreement the court will decide.

Child support will be ordered if there aren't any existing orders, and if he is determined to be the non-custodial parent then he will also have to pay support.

Finally, I tell all my clients when it comes to issues of custody that regardless of your feelings about the other parent they have a right to parent the child, and it is best when both parties can put their differences aside and try and co-parent the child. I know easier said then done. The child needs both parents in his/her life. So try to consider what is in the best interest of your child and not let emotions get in the way of that.

Please let me know if there is anything else you want to discuss. I would be happy to continue this conversation. If so just reply to this response. If you are satisfied with this response, please Accept the answer and provide a rating. Doing so cost you nothing extra. Experts are independent contractors and customer ratings are the only way we are compensated for the time reviewing and responding to questions as we are not employees of the site. You may also get a request for a telephone call, but that is from the site and not the experts. I hope your legal issue works out to your satisfaction.

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Family Lawyer: N.Brown ESQ, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

If you are satisfied with my responses to your questions, please accept the answer, and provide a rating (5 stars would be appreciated). It cost you nothing additionally to do so. The experts who answer your questions are independent contractors, and customer ratings are the only way we are compensated for our responses. Thanks, ***** ***** hope everything works out to your satisfaction.

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