Legal Question in Family Law in California

Hello, I have a very complicated situation. I am in the United States Navy, currently located in Norfolk, VA. On June 7, I will permanently changing duty stations to Pt. Mugu, CA (79 Miles away from home) I currently have a daughter, I am not married to the mother. We recently broke up and are in a battle for custody of our daughter. I am not on the birth certificate as i was on deployment when she was born. No DNA test has been done, but i have been constantly trying to be in my daughters life. Since I cannot prove to the navy that she is my daughter, she is not on my page 2, therefore is not recieving dependant BAH or Tricare insurance coverage.

My daughter's mother (we'll refer to her as K) is currently working at target, part time, and is going to school to be a cosmetologist. K currently lives with her mother, and my daughter is covered by insurance from the government since she is so young (1 year 3 months) I was wondering, if i can get a DNA test done, what my chances are of having a majority of physical custody of my daughter when i move to california.

Asked on 5/07/13, 2:17 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Unfortunately, pretty much none of the information you gave is really of much relevance in deciding disputed primary custody of a young child, except her age. There is a rebuttable presumption that a child that young needs maternal care more of the time - but it is fairly easy to overcome that presumption if the actual facts call for it. There is also weak presumption in favor of the status quo. Ultimately the court will expect you and the mother to try very hard to work out a mutually agreeable parenting plan and only ask the court to decide if you just can't work it out. Two parents focused on whats best for the child will almost invariably come up with a better plan than the court can between two warring parents. The key thing to do is get a paternity determination case on file in the county where the child is located as soon as practicable. If the mother does not stipulate to paternity in that case, then the court will pretty much automatically order the DNA testing you need. The sooner you can get that done, the sooner you can at least get her the DoD benefits she's entitled to.

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Answered on 5/07/13, 2:38 pm

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