I am 17 and pregnant. I am no longer with the father. He said when the baby is born he is going to fight for joint custody. I really want primary custody where i get the baby and he sees it every other weekend and holidays. He refuses to work with me. What can i do?
2 Answers from Attorneys
In order for the father to have any legal rights to custody or even visitation, he would have to file an action to legitimate the child once it is born. It would be very difficult for a father filing for legitimation to obtain primary custody, but joint legal custody is something you may even be in favor of. This just gives him the right to have a say in life decisions, and to be consulted regarding school and medical decisions. In doing so, it means he has an active role in the child's life. However, what most non-lawyers mean when they use the term joint custody is joint physical custody, meaning that the child shares time between parents. Judges tend not to grant this without the consent of both parties, especially with a young child needing stability in their life. Should he decide to pursue this, hire your own lawyer so that you are protected and so that you know what the terminology means, and can help you work out a settlement whereby he has some visitation, has an active role in the child's life, and pays the support he should be.
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I really encourage you to speak with an attorney so you understand your rights before the father files to legitimate once the child is born. This is not a time to be stressing. Having knowledge of the procedures and information may assist in alleviating your concerns. I would locate a family law attorney. The father needs to understand there are financial issues involved, including assisting you with prenatal care and birth expenses, medical expenses for the child and child support. Speak with an attorney.