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Unmarried father, not on birth certificate, son (2 yo) has…

Unmarried father, not on...

Unmarried father, not on birth certificate, son (2 yo) has been living with him for over a year. Can mom keep child away from father now? Not let him see him at all & threaten to move away now with child?

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

No. Father would like to handle peacefully.

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

NC

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

Can't think of anything else right now. He just wants joint custody.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
6/22/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,184
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Situations like these are often very tricky. If there is no custody order in place, but there's a very good idea that the child belongs to the father, then each party has equal rights over the child. This means that either party could take the child on vacation, to visit relatives, or stay a short time in some other place other than where the child normally comes home. The other parent can't just keep the child away, but until there is a DNA test and/or custody order, it will be difficult for dad to prove otherwise.

The problem is the person who is not physically in possession of the child has the same rights to keep them there. In essence, the law treats parents without a custody order to have equal share. Thus, the general rule is when there is no custody order in place, neither party can be charged is required to do anything and unless there is a valid court order, they often will not step in.

This puts pressure on both of the parents to get a custody order as soon as possible. Without one, because both parties have rights, the non-custodial parent can take the child from the parent who took the child out of the state or out of the country and there is little the custodial parent could do. Plus, a parent who has possession of the child may unwittingly set themselves up to lose custody if they keep the child away from the other parent for too long. The parent who is not in possession could file a custody case and allege that the other parent is attempting to permanently take the child away, which means the sheriff could get involved.

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My strongest recommendation is to begin custody proceedings before too long. Although the practical realities are that nothing bad will happen, a non-custodial parent runs the risk of never seeing their child again and a custodial parent runs the risk of being considered a kidnapper.

Because I value your input, I would like to know what other questions did you have for me today that I can help out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Mother left child with father when she left last March. Is now back in town.

I see. I think he must get a custody order ASAP if he was unmarried and there's no paternity test. She could take the child back right now and there isn't much recourse. If he takes action now, he can save himself a lot of headaches.

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,184
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Legal Eagle and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you so much. Will contact local family lawyer.

You bet!

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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