What to do if my girlfriend now wants to leave the state with our newborn?

What rights do I have if I disagree with her? I Signed declaration of paternity.

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding child custody and children traveling out-of-state.  Child custody issues will be governed by the laws of your state, and for that reason the particulars can vary from state to state.  That being said, you have rights to custody once paternity has been established.  In order to seek child custody, since you are not married, you are not presumed to be the father of the baby.  You are likely to have to get a paternity test to confirm that you are in fact the biological father of the baby.

Once you have proved with a paternity test that you are the biological father, you can petition the court for child custody.  Within your petition, you can explain to the court that you have fears that she is attempting to leave the state.  The court’s job is to ensure the child’s best interests are protected and when one parent moves far away, the family dynamic becomes strained.  When setting up the child custody agreement, the court may define terms that each parent must seek the permission of the other parent in order to travel out-of-state and/or to move out of state.  Some states may even allow a clause that if a party chooses to move out of state then they need to foot the costs for visitation for the other parent to visit with their child.

Once the court orders a child custody arrangement, the parents must comply with the court’s order.  If at any time one of the parents violates the court’s order, they can be held in contempt.  If you need further assistance, you should contact a family law attorney in your area to get this process started. 

 


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