Have a child I am seeking to have full custody over. My ex-boyfriend has been doing many illegal things, and was previously abusive to me.

UPDATED: May 31, 2009

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Have a child I am seeking to have full custody over. My ex-boyfriend has been doing many illegal things, and was previously abusive to me.

I have a 7 month old son I want to get full custody over. My ex-boyfriend as of now that I know of has been smoking marijuana, driving drunk, and trying to sleep with prostitues, and was previously abusive to me. Do those things give me a higher chance to have custody over my son? If so, what are his chances of visitation rights? I am currently unemployed and haven’t finished my last year of high school. Will those things affect my chances of having custody? Also I was thinking of moving out of state is tht illegal? We do not currently have a case open and were never married?

Asked on May 31, 2009 under Criminal Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I think you need to talk to someone in your area who is familiar with the law -- ideally, a lawyer at legal services or a center for abused women;  if not a lawyer, sometimes the staff at places like that have a lot of experience in the area.  I'm not a California attorney, and you need to talk through your whole case, because all the facts can be important here.

In most states, if no court order has ever been entered about your son, you have custody as his mother.  You are free to move, with him, wherever you please.  However, if you leave the state, you will probably have to live in your new home for a period of time, establish some connections such as medical care for your son and ideally a job, before the courts there will consider helping you -- this is to discourage people from moving just to get custody orders.  Until you go into court, you can't get child support, but the child's father would have no specific visitation rights -- he still has the right to visitation, but he would have to go to court to enforce it unless you agreed.  What you could prove about his behavior would be considered, if it came to that.

If you get a court order in California, it might not be quite as simple -- but not impossible -- to move out of state later, depending on all the facts.

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