How do I get full legal custody of my daughter if my estranged husband left us and moved out of state before our daughter was 1 year old?

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How do I get full legal custody of my daughter if my estranged husband left us and moved out of state before our daughter was 1 year old?

He has had no relationship with her and she is almost 5. I received a letter in the mail from him out of the blue recently. I want full physical and legal custody of her as he knows nothing about her. Should I respond to his letter or just file paperwork to finalize divorce and custody?

Asked on November 16, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is difficult to give guidance on these type of matters with out being able to read the letter or fully understand the situation.  You need to understand that even though he has been estranged - and that is definitely a big deal in the eyes of the court - he still has rights as her father and obligations as well.  So I think that it may be best for you to speak with a lawyer about moving forward with the paperwork and having an attorney help with the response.  I can understand how angry you may be and rightfully so.  But you need to try and see that even if your relationship with this man has ended, hers will last her lifetime in one way or the other.  Good luck.


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