What to do if my daughter already lives with me but now her father wants to fight me for custody?

The father and I were never married. His last name is not on the birth certificate. He has nojob, no stable home, plus I have provided everything for my child.

Asked on January 9, 2013 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you were never married and there has been no order establishing paternity (or an affidavit as to same) then you are the only legal guardian of your child.  But that does not mean that the father can not establish paternity and request custody and visitation.  Courts generally try and support parental relationships as long as they do not go against the "best interests of the child."  Now, from what you have said here it sounds as if the environment that you provide is the best for your child so it is doubtful that the court will change you as the custodial parent although they will give him visitation rights.  If he has no stable job or home you should ask the court that there be no overnight visitation.  I would speak with an attorney about your strategy here.  Also know that once custody is established so too will be support.  You can not waive it to avoid visitation.  It is for your child. Good luck.


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