What are the odds of receiving sole legal and physical custody?

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What are the odds of receiving sole legal and physical custody?

My daughter is almost 3 years old. Her father and I were not married but he is listed on her birth certificate. Paternity was established by a voluntary paternity affidavit. He has not seen her since she was 1 week old by his choice. He has gone for over 2 years without contact email only at his choice regarding my daughter. He has been paying court ordered child support for 2 years. Daughter had major medical surgery at 11 months old which he was aware of but had no interest in being involved with. Additional medical attention may be needed as she grows. Do I need to file for sole legal and physical custody to protect my child in the future or is it considered so by default at this point?

Asked on November 24, 2012 under Family Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no such thing as "default" in these situation.  It is always the best thing to have everything spelled out in an agreement or court order. Since paternity is established he would have rights to custody if he wants it. Paying support alone does not establish an order or agreement.  Although her father has rights he does not seem to wish to exercise them.  But it does not mean that he could not in the future.  The odds of gaining sole custody depend on many factors but generally courts like to foster the relationship between parents and children. Please speak with an Iowa attorney about the matter as soon as you can.  Good luck.


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