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  1. #1

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    Joint Custody, Father absent for over a year

    I have some questions regarding modifying the visitation rights on my court order. Currently our court order states that we have joint legal custody but I the mother have primary physical care of the child. The situation is that my daughter's father has not been picking up his daughter. It's been a year and a month with no phone visits or phone calls. During this time he had a court order to determine paternity. The results were that he is 99.99% the father of the said child. I am not moving closer to him and I am afraid that he will want to come and just take our daughter. I know we both have joint custody but he has been absent in over a year. I was wondering if there was something I could do to prevent this or what options I have modify the court order.



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    Let me say I'm sorry for your troubles, you're not in an easy situation, and I'm in that boat with you, my 1yr old son's father has been absent since conception. He doesn't even call to see how the child is doing, yet he's sued me to establish paternity and wants full custody.

    As for modifying the order you have. You said that he filed to establish paternity. Was it that simple, he didn't ask for anything more? As it stands, you have physical/primary custody, and you have to share joint legal? I thought that just meant that he should be included in the decision making and that you physically hold the child? I could be wrong, I'm currently learning and trying to grasp all this legal jargon myself.

    Was there a visitation order set up with that? Or are you expected to share time with the child equally in a half and half situation?

    It seems to me, that although to us mother's, the father being absent is serious. We're told it's serious, we read it's serious, but then the court's have a better late than never attitude. It's better to brace yourself for that, so if you do get told that, you won't be so shocked. I have a friend, who's ex was gone for 3 years, he came back, wanted visitation, and her little girl went with the dad out of state for 30 days for his summer visitation, not even a week after the hearing. Shocker, to us yes, to the courts, that's in the best interest of the girl, dad has a right.

    It's tough, should you stay doing what you're doing, and wait to see if he does something? Or should you try to modify, knowing he's going to retaliate, and he'll probly get more than you wished in the first place. He could come in and say it's all your fault why he can't deal with you and that's why he's been absent. Custody is such a touchy issue. If you feel he really in his heart doesn't want to be there for the child, and that you can handle what may come out of it, then at least try. But be prepared, for yourself, for whatever outcome may possibly arise.

  3. #3
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    The man has been determined, through paternity testing, to be the father of this child.

    As such, he legally has the same rights as you do in terms of visitation (although not primary physical care) whether he chooses to use these rights or not.

    Gail

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