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Full custody of unborn child

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Latest post Mon, Dec 21 2009 1:46 PM by Paddywakk. 22 replies.
  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 12:37 PM

    Question [=?] Full custody of unborn child

    My fiance is expecting a son in the next month. The mother and he had a sexual relationship during a period where he and I were not together, and she is now pregnant. We would like to have full custody of his son to provide a more stable and encouraging environment. Currently, the mother has smoked through the pregnancy, she lives in a rented mobile home with her sister and her newborn (born on Christmas Eve 2005). She has a job that is paid under the table, no additional family support and a vehicle that does not work. My fiance and I, own a home, have two full time jobs that we have been at for over a year. Both of our families are highly supportive and are excited to help with the baby. Our cars are in complete working condition and we have the means to provide a very stable home with two loving parents.

    We are concerned that if we share custody 50/50 the variation in households could be very stressful to the baby. The parenting differences could be confusing and detrimental. Especially as a new born, who needs to develop a strong relationship with his parents.

    We are also afraid that if we share custody, she may just leave with the child, since there is nothing keeping her here (ie job, home, etc)

    If we can't get full custody, we want primary with residency.

    I just don't know what to expect from this situation. Should we expect that it would be fairly easy for us to get custody, or not. I don't believe she has the means to hire a lawyer and fight for custody, but who knows. I also want to adopt the baby as my son, and don't know if she needs to give up rights to him before I can do that. Please help with whatever information you might have. Thanks!
  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 1:43 PM In reply to

    • CJ
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Aug 2 1999
    • CA
    • Posts 1,721

    News [|*|] re: Full custody of unborn child

    You can't just take a child away from it's mother because you don't agree with her lifestyle. Grantid, smoking during pregnancy was not a wise choice and hopefully the baby will come out okay. But unfortunatly smoking during preganancy isn't illegal. And her living situation isn't really an issue as long as it's not a health concern or putting the child in danger. Lots of people live in trailers and rentals and with other family members. Your living a home you purchased means absolutly nothing here. As a matter of fact, you have no rights to this child at all and your finace may not either since he and the mother were never married so the child is not automatically assumed to be his. There really should be a DNA test to prove paternity.

    At this point your finace's best bet is to get a DNA test as soon as the baby is born. He should have legal representation so that if he is found to be the father then he can get some sort of visitation addressed as well as child support started. I personally think that his chances of getting full or even 50/50 custody at this point are very very slim. And your chances of adopting are nill since you aren't married yet and the mother doesn't sound willing to allow you to take her child away from here.

  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 2:21 PM In reply to

    re: Full custody of unborn child

    You are jumping about 100 steps too far on this one. Everyone should probably slow down.

    It seems the chances of dad getting custody (or primary residency) are slim. You really haven't said anything that suggests anything so dramatic about mom--besided not getting enough monetary support from dad--to suggest she can't care for the child. Nor have you said anything that suggests that dad is in a better situation to raise the child than mom. Having more money is rarely the deciding factor; it it were, men would have a lot more custody.

    As for adoption, why do you think she would give up parental rights to the child? You haven't even gotten married to dad yet and given his track record, a court is going to want a little more evidence that you two are in it for the long haul.

  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 5:14 PM In reply to

    Sad [:(] re: Full custody of unborn child

    Well first of all, we certainly know that the paternity must be decided, as it will be when the baby is born. Secondly, there is no track record with my fiance... we seperated after he returned from Active Duty in Korea and since reconciled. But regardless of that, you say that there is no real possiblity of us getting custody? Even with proven paternity? As far as I have read the court is not supposed to have preference to the mother, it is supposed to be in the best interest of the baby. I am well aware that smoking during pregnancy is not illegal, but it does prove a lack of concern for the child. Also, the additional concern is that her sister uses drugs, in the house. Since this point, she doesn't need monetary support from dad. Why should he be obligated to give her money, and have no say in the way this child is raised. She has already abandoned another child with her abusive ex-husband and moved 3000 miles away. Who's to say that she is not an inept mother? My fiance is in a better situation to provide for the baby, as he has a full time job with benefits and a supportive family. He also has an environment that is far more stable emotionally and economically.

    I just don't understand how a father can have no rights to a child, but all the financial responsibility.

    If we were to seek custody in this situation what would be necessary to get the courts in our favor?
  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 5:15 PM In reply to

    Agree [=|=] No custody for an 'unborn' child :(

    I agree with Mike.

    One thing I would suggest is that you try to educate yourself and your bf - you are incorrect about a lot of things in your post and it would in your best interest to have more facts, instead of just hearsay. I don't know where you got some of your information.

    "If we can't get full custody, we want primary with residency." What do you see as the difference? I mean, do you think if you have full custody that you will not have to share the child with the mother at all? To say a parent has full custody is to say they are the primary custodian and their residence is also the child's residence. However, the other parent also has rights that you seem to be ignoring.

    One thing you really should try to grasp is that you have no role here - you are not married to the father, so even discussing adoption is so premature that it might even cause some problems for you bf in court if you even bring it up. The judge may side with mom, just so someone is on her side!

    None of the issues you mention mean that mom is a bad mom. Don't forget - he picked her to be the mother of his child, whether you two were on a break or not. She deserves respect for that - the courts are very careful to honor our choices, even if we do change our mind. When it comes to children, Mom and Dad only have rights to them.

    Step back a little I think.

    Sue :)
  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 5:43 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: No custody for an 'unborn' child :(

    Thanks, I understand what you are saying. I know that i have no role here, but I am gathering information for my soon to be fiance. When I say we, I mean him. What I meant about the primary with residence, is that she has rights, but that my fiance is not obligated to child support and has the child for the majority of the time. If thats the same thing as full custody then that's fine. I did jump the gun on the adoption, and didn't mean for that to be a primary point of discussion, but instead an option down the road. So as for all of that, what does my fiance need to do to even have a fighting chance in this situation? Is it possible to have a contract drawn outside of court that lays out the role of each parent, ie the 50/50 split and a disabling of the ability to claim child support, since cost would also be split? Is that legal? My fiance really wants this baby to be part of his life, in more of a way than a check, and a weekend or too, why should that be so difficult? You would think in this day and age that the father would have the same rights as the mother. And actually, he didn't chose her to be the mother of his child, she claimed to use birthcontrol and actually wasn't. Granted initiating any sexual relationship comes with the possibility of a child and should be approached as such. I am not an uneducated woman, I am just not aware of all the legality of this sort of thing.
  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 7:41 PM In reply to

    • CJ
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Aug 2 1999
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    re: No custody for an 'unborn' child :(

    There's nothing you can do at this point except wait for the results of the DNA test. After that his lawyer will be able to advise him what the next steps will be.

    I wouldn't put much hope in his gaining custody unless mom is PROVEN to be unfit by a judge. And 50/50 isn't given very often to a parent when the child is so young and the parents don't seem to agree or get along. You haven't said what mom's feelings are about your STB hubby wanting custody. Is she wanting him to be involved? If she doesn't, then she can make it really hard for him. And as far as child support goes. Even if he was awared 50/50, she would probably still get support because he makes way more than she does and if you two get married, that would free more of his income up so he could possibly have to pay even more.

    You're best best is to work on the relationship with this woman and find a way to all get along and be one big family. This would be the best for the child. Best of luck, I think you have a very bumpy road ahead.
  • Tue, Dec 27 2005 9:37 PM In reply to

    • joejenn
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    Feedback [*=*] re: No custody for an 'unborn' child :(

    My response applies to all of the above messages. First of all you need to educate yourself on the laws of your state--exactly what joint managing conservatorship (50/50 as you refer to it) versus managing conservator (primary) and possesory conservator. Each state is different. Just because you think she doesn't have the money for a lawyer doesn't mean that she wouldn't get counsel through legal aid. The others are right: money means very little--it's all about the overal best interest of that baby. Think about it: can't a poor person bath, cuddle, read to/play with a child just like a financially stable person? Also, there is no such thing as true 50/50 split when a child is concerned--afterall, millions of parents live in different school districts. It's not the amount of time spent with or the money spent on the child, it's what you do with your time when with the child. Plus, you must think at least 10-15 years ahead and how the decisions you make today will affect a child then. I have friends that were adopted as babies, they've spent a large portion of their adult life looking for the bio parents. I also have friends that were kept away from one bio parent because the parents couldn't see eye to eye. My friends resent the parent who kept them away from the other parent. My best advice is to educate yourself, get the DNA testing and work very hard to make the best of the sitution with the bio mother. You never know, they're may come a day when she decides it would be better for dad to raise the child and she only visit on weekends. Best of luck and take a long hard look at what you are trying to do.
  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 12:09 AM In reply to

    re: Full custody of unborn child

    "Well first of all, we certainly know that the paternity must be decided, as it will be when the baby is born."

    I would argue there's no paternity or custody or anything to decide until there is, indeed, a live birth. The birth itself does not establish paternity, nor does whatever name the mother chooses to apply to the birth certificate. Paternity will be decided when a judge says so.

    "As far as I have read the court is not supposed to have preference to the mother, it is supposed to be in the best interest of the baby."

    It is. Until paternity is decided the mother has all of the legal rights. That's what happens when people who aren't married have children.

    "I am well aware that smoking during pregnancy is not illegal, but it does prove a lack of concern for the child."

    No it doesn't. The mother's physician has a legal duty to warn the State if she is putting her unborn child in harm's way. This has, evidently, not happened.

    "Also, the additional concern is that her sister uses drugs, in the house."

    Legal or illegal drugs?

    "Since this point, she doesn't need monetary support from dad."

    Not even to fix the car so she can get back and forth to the doctor's appointments?

    "Why should he be obligated to give her money, and have no say in the way this child is raised."

    He won't be legally obligated to give anyone money until a judge says so. Morally? Probably, but child support is for a judge to decide.

  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 6:33 AM In reply to

    More [=+=] re: Full custody of unborn child

    The other thing to remember is that the child already has a bond with his/her mother. By the time a DNA test is done and custody/visitation issues wind their way through the courts, the child will have developed an even stronger bond with Mom. That will weigh very heavily in the judge's decision.

    Your fiance should start preparing himself that he will, in most likelihood, be the NCP. And he should prepare himself that, especially at the beginning, visitation will most likely be for short periods of time and in the mother's presence. It would likely be wise if it's without you.

    And I agree that your involvement could well be more harmful than not to Dad's case.
  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 6:35 AM In reply to

    re: Full custody of unborn child

    Your fiance may want to start by reading here
  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 12:56 PM In reply to

    Ok [+0+] re: Full custody of unborn child

    Thanks everyone for your advice, you all have definitely shed some light on the situation.
  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 3:25 PM In reply to

    • fao
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 12 2000
    • Posts 336

    Ah, but he DID choose her to be the mother...

    when 1) he had sex with her and 2) he relied on someone other than himself for birth control.

    Unfortunately, this person will be in his life for at least the next 18 years.
  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 8:44 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
    • CA
    • Posts 28,248

    YOU can get nothing

    You are and always will be a legal stranger to this child.

    The facther can seek custody - but it would be hard to argue that he is more stable when he conceived the child through a casual relationship and now lives with another woman he is not married to.

    It is not illegal for a woman to smoke. We do not take children from their mothers becuase of poverty.

    In any event absolutely NOTHING can be done untl after the child is born and a paternity test is done.
  • Wed, Dec 28 2005 8:45 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
    • CA
    • Posts 28,248

    Disagree [)*(] re: Full custody of unborn child

    Fathers have rights. Fathers' fiancees do not.

    Nothing in your post indicates she is not capable of being a good mother.
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