I live in CA. I got pregnant by a married man who lives in Arizona. He was separated at the time and has since gone back to his wife. What sort of custody rights can he obtain? Can he take half custody and take the baby to Arizona?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Under California law if the child is born here, California courts have jurisdiction and California law applies. Under California law, unwed parents and parents who divorce have exactly the same rights and obligations. The only difference is that married men are automatically presumed to be the father of their wives children, whereas an unwed couple must either jointly file a declaration of paternity, or one of the couple must file a court case to establish paternity. So his first hurdle is he would have to go to court in California to establish paternity. If he does that, the legal rights and duties will be no different for him than if you had married and he had left you to move to AZ. He would have to petition the court for custody and demonstrate that the custody and visitation plan he proposes is in the best interests of the child. Pretty much guaranteed he won't get any custody outside California or even very far from where you are living, while the child is an infant, but if he wants to be a part of the child's life, the courts will eventually support that to the extent he can establish he is stepping up to his duties as a father and wants to fill that role for his child. Exactly what custody/visitation plan will serve that goal in the future cannot be guessed at this point, but will most likely involve more custodial time as the child gets older and if he asks for it.