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How does an unwed mother get named as primary parent?

I realize it will differ state to state, but basically how should my daughter do this? The father is on the BC. I don't think he'll contest, is sending money (not court-ordered) but never calls to check on him, says he wants to see him once a month but wants her to do the transporting, doesn't want to go out of his way, just acts kind of lazy about the whole thing. She is getting advice from friends to be named the primary parent or custodial parent. Can she just go to Juvenile Court to do this? Does she have to get a lawyer? She left the state where the baby was born, but the father wanted her to come here and live with me.

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Asked by Malley at 1:03 AM on Oct. 19, 2008 in Adult Children (18+)

Level 1 (-5 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • She would have to file the necessary paperwork, but she doesn't need a lawyer unless she wants to get one. Having one is a good idea, but not necessary. Sounds like this guy wouldn't contest anything anyhow. In my state you have to file for mediation. That is where both parents meet with a court designated mediator and they try to come up with a custody plan together wth the mediator there to guide things along. If they can settle it there then the paperwork gets put through and that is the legal arrangement. If they can't agree, they go to court and the judge determines everything.

    But it sounds like the birth father is lazy and won't fight anything. I don't think your daughter shoud have to do all the driving so he can see his child. It should be half way or he can come to where she lives to see the child. She shouldn't have to make all the effort. If he wants to see his child, tell him to get off his lazy butt!

    Answer by feesharose at 1:09 AM on Oct. 19, 2008

  • This would go through Family Court. Call them and they will tell you the process. I do know that if the mother wasn't married to the father, she will be granted primary custody.

    Answer by robinann5 at 2:28 AM on Oct. 19, 2008

  • Family Court is where she will have to go and you will need a lawyer in case he contests the whole situation. Right now, she is the primary guardian of the child because they are not married and the child has always resided with her.


    Answer by Southerncharmes at 11:44 AM on Oct. 19, 2008

  • Where was the child born? If it was in GA, she is the primary parent automatically and there is no need for paperwork.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 7:46 PM on Oct. 19, 2008

  • He was born in Alabama and now they live with me in Louisiana.

    Answer by Malley at 8:04 PM on Oct. 19, 2008

  • If she gave birth to him, she IS the primary parent. Even though he is on the birth certificate, if he's not doing anything to really be a parent, she needs to take him to court. Get court-ordered child support and a paternity test (just as a safe measure, even if she's sure he's the father) and everything will work out from there. But the first thing she needs, unfortunately, is to take him to court.

    Answer by oh__you at 9:29 PM on Oct. 19, 2008

  • In Ohio just by giving birth! In order for her to not be costodail parent he would have to prove her an unfit mother...very hard to do if there is no history of drug abuse or neglect.

    Answer by salexander at 3:26 PM on Oct. 20, 2008

  • if the child has never lived with him - i think she is automatically the sole guardian - if she can get him to relinquish his parental rights then she wont have problems in the future but he wont have to pay anymore...

    Answer by vakatia at 2:07 PM on Oct. 21, 2008

  • It's called A Parenting plan or custody order, she may be able to get the forms from the state law library. It is an important step because if one day he decides to take the kid she will not have a legal leg to stand on, generally speaking. Check with the state of residence. Online there are the annodated codes "laws" usually easy to find on a search. Good Luck.

    Answer by crystalsdreamm at 12:43 AM on Oct. 24, 2008

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