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Never married custodial mother wonder if unsupportive father has any rights to the child


Your Question:
HELLO I LIVED WITH A GUY FROM THE TIME I WAS 17 UNTIL I WAS 25. WE HAVE A 7 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. WHEN WE LIVED TOGETHER THINGS WERE NOT ALWAYS GREAT, HIS FRIENDS WERE ALWAYS AT OUR HOME (DRINKING, SMOKING, LOUD MUSIC, ETC.) YES SOMETIMES I WAS INVOLVED BUT I STARTED GROWING UP AND KNEW WHAT MY GOALS WERE IN LIFE. WE WOULD ALWAYS FIGHT OVER MONEY, FRIENDS, WHO DID WHAT, OR WE WOULDN'T EVEN SPEAK TO EACH OTHER. WE BOTH HAD OKAY JOBS BUT MAINLY I PAID THE BILLS AND WE USED HIS MONEY FOR SPENDING, I LOST MY JOB AND HE DID NOT STEP UP TO PAY THE BILLS, I HAD TO ASK MY FAMILY FOR HELP. FINALLY I FOUND A NEW JOB, TRIED TO CATCH MY BILLS UP BUT I COULDN'T DO IT BY MYSELF AND HE WOULDN'T HELP, FINALLY IT CAME TO THE POINT THAT OUR HOME THAT WE HAD FOR 7 YEARS WAS GOING TO BE TAKEN AWAY FROM US, HE DIDN'T CARE HE WOULDN'T DO ANYTHING AOBUT IT SO I MOVED OUT OF THE HOME WITH MY CHILD. WE MOVED INTO MY MOTHERS HOME. NOW MY CHILD GOES TO A GREAT SCHOOL, HAS A STRESS FREE LIFE BECAUSE THERE IS NO ARUGING, AND IS JUST A WELL ROUNDED CHILD. HER FATHER RARELY SEES HER BUT WHEN I NEED HELP I CALL AND ASK HIM HE ALWAYS TELLS ME HE HAS SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. THEN WHEN HE REALLY DOES WANT HER USUALLY ME AND HER HAVE PLANS AND HE GETS MAD. HE DOES NOT HELP ME PAY FOR ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DUE WITH HER. MY MAIN QUESTION IS DOES HE REALLY HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO HER? WE WERE NEVER MARRIED, HE DOES NOT HELP ME PAY FOR NEEDS, AND HE IS BARELY EVER AROUND. HE DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD ENVIROMENT TO LIVE IN. HELP FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

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My Answer:
Hi,

Writing to someone in ALL CAPS is extremely annoying and disrespectful. It makes it very tough to read. Take this feedback for what it's worth.

In answer to your question "Do he really have any rights to her?", you have a choice to make.

If you were never married, until the time that a court finds him to be a father and makes court orders that assign legal rights to the father... the father has no rights as a parent.

The court can find him to be a father either through your request or his request.

If you want child support, you must ask the court to order it. You will tell the court - in sworn testimony - that he is the father. The father can either agree or dispute it (which will probably lead to a DNA test).

After the court has found him to be the father, he will be ordered to pay you a monthly amount to help support the child.

ALSO, after the court has found him to be the father, he has the right to request court orders to spend time with his child, to call his child, and to be involved in his child's life. Unless he is a tremendous danger to his child, a court will order a parenting schedule that has the child spending time with each parent, based upon what the court believes is in the child's best interest.

Nothing you wrote has me believing that a court will conclude this man is a tremendous danger to the child. He may not win father of the year. The court may want him to take parenting classes. But the court WILL order daughter/father time.

I think you have a tragic situation on your hands. If you had an infant, I really wouldn't care what you did with your situation.

But you have a 7 year old, and you are refusing to let her spend time with the only father she has ever known, regardless of his abilities as a parent. Your question is essentially, "Am I within my rights to completely deny him access to her??"

And that's a horrible mindset, unfortunately. YOU picked this guy as your kid's dad, and now YOU want him to disappear. It's tragic.

I suggest a better mindset is, "How can I help him improve his parenting skills, and if it's impossible to improve his parenting skills, what level of father/daughter contact can I support at a level that matches his parenting abilities?"

It's a really tough question and takes almost inhuman selfless thought, but your daughter will pay the price if your answer is still "Zero contact with dad."

Good luck.

Eric





This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.


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