If I want a divorce and there is a minor child that neither my wife or I have custody of, do they need to be included in the divorce?

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If I want a divorce and there is a minor child that neither my wife or I have custody of, do they need to be included in the divorce?

I would like a divorce from my wife. We have a minor child but neither of us

have custody of her at this time. She is in the guardianship of another family member. My wife has since had 2 more children with 2 other men since she left me. She is also currently engaged to another man facebook posts with both other children and about engagment. She is refusing to sign divorce papers as she is trying to get the guardianship terminated and gain custody back of our

child after several failed attempts already. I want the divorce done but I need to find out if the minor child has to be included in the divorce papers since neither of us have legal custody of her. My soon-to-be-ex lives in another state.

Asked on February 10, 2017 under Family Law, Tennessee

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Sounds like an ugly mess... but it's fixable.  You can get a divorce, but the final order will need to reflect that another jurisdiction has continuing exclusive jurisdiction over the child you had together.  The final order will also need to reflect that the two other children were born during the marriage, but are not children "of the marriage."  The court may not be able to adjudicate who is "dad," but the court can make it clear that you are not the father of the children.  Many states have data bases where you can obtain copies of birth records or paternity registry searches.  These would or should confirm that another man is or has claimed to be the father of the children, thereby making way for the court to determine that you are not dad.


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