My girlfriend kicked me out of the house and had me take our child. She now wants to come over and take our child back to live with her.
If I feel that our child will be unsafe with her living in unstable environment then can I prevent her from taking the child? Does she have more rights to the child than I do?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Nebraska and Iowa paternity laws where I am licensed to practice.
If you feel your child is unsafe, and you have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or the birth certificate, then you have equal rights to your child and can keep him without immediate court intervention. Both parents have equal rights to their child.
However, without court interaction, your ex-girlfriend can come take the child at any point she desires, especially if you are not present. Your ex-girlfriend, without a court order, has superior rights to grandparents, babysitters, etc.
She does not have superior rights to you so long as you have been legally deemed the child’s father. You do have a duty to protect your child and report abuse as a reminder.
Often times the police will not intervene as they will term this a civil matter, if you have some type of acknowledgement or birth certificate listing you as the father.
Again, there are a few law enforcement officials who are unaware of the law and your rights as a father. A court order will prevent any type of situation from developing into something that cannot be controlled.
Related Article:Unwed Fathers Rights
It is my recommendation that you immediately file a paternity action and speak with your lawyer regarding your concerns. If you have not signed a birth certificate or acknowledgement, the action will take care of this for you. If you have signed one, then the action will just deal with child custody, visitation, and support.
Often times, in situations such as yours, you can file to have an Order entered "ex parte," also known as an emergency order, requesting immediate custody to protect the health, safety, and welfare of your child.
A full hearing will be held a short time later to determine the rights of all those involved. You can request a mental health evaluation, supervised visitation, child support, etc., at the full hearing.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.