Legal Question in Family Law in California

I have a 7 year old daughter with a woman i never married. we never had a formal custody agreement although my daughter has always lived with her and i had visitation on weekends. My Daughters mother recently passed away, and as far as i know my daughter is staying with her aunt at the moment...the family has not been forth comeing with information and not wanting to communicate with me re: the Arrangments that need to be made for my daughter. I want my daughter to come live with me after she has had time to adjust to the loss of her mother. I need to know what steps i need to take and what questions to ask.

Asked on 9/08/09, 3:44 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Hopefully, for your daughter's sake, you and her mother's family can find a way to come together and help her through this loss. From a legal standpoint, though, if push comes to shove she's your daughter and you have the right to custody (assuming you don't have anything in your life that would make social services or a court take her away from you). The first thing to determine, though, is paternity. Did you and the mother file a declaration of paternity when the baby was born? Just being on the birth certificate is not necessarily enough. If not, have you had any other legal formalities that establish you as the father? If not, you will have to establish paternity before anything else. That will take a court proceeding and you will need a lawyer, especially if the mother's family wants to dispute it.

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Answered on 9/08/09, 8:20 pm

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