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  1. #1
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    Default Unmarried Couple - Who Has Legal Custody

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: New Hampshire


    An unmarried couple has two children together, the father has the children physically and the mother sees them on weekends. There is no formal custodial agreement. Who actually has custody?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Unmarried Couple - Who Has Legal Custody

    Mom has legal custody, but dad has constructive custody (possession). What that means is that if they've been living with dad, and mom wants to exercise custody, she's going to need a court order - because law enforcement isn't going to intervene without it. Having allowed the children to live with him, that effectively tells the court that he's got her vote of approval as a parent and the burden will then rest on her to prove to the court that removing the children from the party that has been their primary caregiver is in their best interest.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unmarried Couple - Who Has Legal Custody

    Under the facts as given, "When the natural father of an illegitimate child has acknowledged and assumed parental responsibilities as in this case, he has custody rights equal to those of the natural mother."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unmarried Couple - Who Has Legal Custody

    Interesting. Do the facts that the mother of the children has a drug problem, a criminal record, lives with her parents who have legal guardianship of two of her five children make a difference? The state is forcing a support case and the father of the children in question would like to know if the mother can take the children away from him if backed into a corner and made to pay child support. The father has had the children while the mother was in jail.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Unmarried Couple - Who Has Legal Custody

    Quote Quoting mph196
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    Interesting. Do the facts that the mother of the children has a drug problem, a criminal record, lives with her parents who have legal guardianship of two of her five children make a difference?
    Probably. It means the court is likely to be happy leaving the children right where they are.

    The state is forcing a support case
    That doesn't usually happen unless mom has applied for financial aid from the taxpayers AND has told them that SHE has been the primary caregiver. If dad never formalized custody, then the state can only go by mom's declaration that SHE has been supporting the children, and wants dad to pay her back. Dad should have sought formal custody before now - and at this point he really NEEDS to establish it, as well as establishing that he's been the primary caregiver all along.

    and the father of the children in question would like to know if the mother can take the children away from him if backed into a corner and made to pay child support.
    MOM appears to be the one who should be paying child support. Can MOM take the children away, no. Can mom ask a JUDGE to order that to happen, yes. But again, the judge would need some compelling reason before they are going to traumatize the children by shaking up their lives and tearing the kids away from the only parent they've ever known, regardless of any of mom's OTHER problems.

    The father has had the children while the mother was in jail.
    That works heavily in dad's favor. He STILL needs to formally establish custody, and get himself declared as the custodial parent.
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

    Fave Big Bang Theory site: Sheldon Cooper Fans

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