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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    1

    Question What Are My Rights As the Mother of My Unborn Child

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

    I am 22 years old. I have no family here in the state of Utah. I am currently living with my boyfriend (27 years old) of 5 months. I am 14 weeks pregnant. Even though this pregnancy was planned our relationship seems to be falling apart lately. It has become verbally abusive and somewhat physical. I found out that my boyfriend is married 2 weeks after I moved in. I chose to stay because I thought we all have a past and gave him a chance. He had explain to me that it was never a marriage. When he was 21 years old he got in trouble with the law and at that time he was with this woman who was pregnant with a child that was not his. He had used her as an excuse to get out of jail sooner but the judge would not let him out till he legally marry her. He has not been with her and seen her for over a year. I tried to understand his situation and what had happened. He told me that he will get the divorce papers taken cared of. I waited for 5 months, I have been on his case every chance I get. She gave him a hard time because she wanted money but now that everything is signed, all he needs to do is file it but we are currently tight on money. He is the only one that is working full-time. I know he is trying his best to fix the situation but because of it we have been stressed and constantly fighting and I am afraid that he would hurt me again. He is verbally abusive and sometimes physical. I am so confused whether to stay or leave him. I want him to take care of his divorce before the baby is born. I am a product of a broken home and I do not want that for my child. I am scared to raised my child by myself but if I have to I will do everything I can. All I want is to have a family of my own without having to worry about other people interfering. I guess what I want to know is what if I decide to leave him and go back to my family in California. Does he have a chance to take my child away from me? and what are the laws? If he is married to someone else and gave his last name to the child that was not even his. Do I have to put his name on the birth certificate? Do I have to give my child his last name? What are my rights as the mother of my unborn child?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,069

    Default Re: What Are My Rights As the Mother of My Unborn Child

    Let's move your questions around for a minute.

    I know he is trying his best to fix the situation but because of it we have been stressed and constantly fighting and I am afraid that he would hurt me again. He is verbally abusive and sometimes physical.
    If you are afraid that he would hurt you AT ALL, let alone "again", that is a place that you do not need to be. You need to think of yourself and your unborn child FIRST, and him dead last. Please, for you own sake and that of the child, get the hell out of there. Then get a restraining order to keep him away from you. A partner who would hit you is no partner at all, and not worthy of your affections. Please visit AARDVARC and avail yourself of the resources there. Catherine is a regular contributor here, I'm sure she will be along any minute with more advice for you.

    Listen to her. She knows what she's talking about.


    What are my rights as the mother of my unborn child?
    Right now, you have ALL the rights, and he has none. He does not have the right to go to your prenatal appointments. He does not have the right to receive any information about your pregnancy. He does not have the right to attend the delivery. He does not have the right to visit you in the hospital if you don't want him there. All of this would hold true even if you were married.

    Do I have to put his name on the birth certificate?
    At the moment, you don't "have to", but you probably ought to. He would need to sign an acknowledgement of paternity. Elsewise, he would have to pursue establishment of paternity through court ordered DNA testing. If he wants to be on that birth certificate, one way or another, he will be, and you cannot legally stop him from establishing paternity.

    Do I have to give my child his last name?
    You do not. He can pursue a change of name order, however, to at least have the child's name hyphenated.

    Does he have a chance to take my child away from me?
    Do you live in a meth lab? A brothel? Are you thoroughly incapable of caring for a houseplant, let alone a wee person?

    No? Then no. He can THREATEN to take the child from you, but the fact of the matter is that unless you're completely unfit, it's not happening. He CAN, however, pursue at least joint legal custody and visitation rights. (Harder to do if you go back to your family in California and the child is born there - he'd have to bring forth all legal action in the county in which the child is domiciled. I'm just sayin'...)
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    587

    Default Re: What Are My Rights As the Mother of My Unborn Child

    Do you live in a meth lab? A brothel? Are you thovroughly incapable of caring for a houseplant, let alone a wee person?

    No? Then no. He can THREATEN to take the child from you, but the fact of the matter is that unless you're completely unfit, it's not happening. He CAN, however, pursue at least joint legal custody and visitation [/QUOTE]

    I have to respectfully disagree with this point of view. No doubt the bar's set low, but not always that low. This almost sounds like a quote from my own daughter's mother, before she lost custody anyway. She didn't have any of those characteristics.

    Doesn't always apply when the child's a baby either. A close friend, as an unmarried father who never lived with the mother, recently got custody of his three month old daugbter. His case was based on mom's party lifestyle. No drugs, alcoholism, or anything terribly out of the ordinary for a twenty one year old woman. His biggest piece of evidence? Some printouts of her facebook page.

    Was his case unusual? Perhaps. But perhaps not as unusual as some might make things seem.

    Should a father enter a courtroom expecting a judge to just hand him the baby because he thinks he's a better parent than mom? No, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't try to build his case and give his best effort, even with the odds stacked against him.

    Should a mother always expect to keep custody just because she's mom and there's not any founded cps reports or similar against her? Even of a very young child? No.

    Any given judge, any given day. Family court has no guarantees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    74,801

    Default Re: What Are My Rights As the Mother of My Unborn Child

    What judges favor is stability for the child. When mom's the undisputed primary caregiver, and has always had that role, she has an advantage by virtue of that history. When dad is in the same position, dad has the advantage.

    Here, there would be no prior history relating to parentage because the child is not yet born, but domestic violence (if substantiated) certainly won't work in dad's favor.

    Obviously there's a lot more to the picture in the case you describe than a few facebook photos of a sober mom at parties with her friends.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    587

    Default Re: What Are My Rights As the Mother of My Unborn Child

    Never said that the mother referred to was continually sober, just that she wasn't an alcoholic and wasn't painted as such to the judge. And yes that's really all there's to that one. That's not meant to give any dads out there false hopes, but to say that dads should not give up. You will never get what you don't ask (and fight) for.

    The "primary caregiver" card holds different weights for different judges. Knowing your judge can be helpful. I certainly was not the primary caregiver for my daughter prior to the custody change. Nor was my friend to his daughter. Nor were the other fathers I've known who have obtained custody of their children. Most of those mothers were not living in meth labs or anytbing remotely close to that. Doesn't mean a father doesn't need to build a strong case, but also doesn't mean that he shouldn't even bother trying.

    And for moms, to understand that they shouldn't always take things for granted and should care about what kind of parents they are and what kind of lifestyle they are living in front of their children. Because it does matter, even if it isn't as bad as a meth lab.

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