If a father abandons his children butlater threatens to fight for sole custodydue toa child support claim being filed, will he get it?

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If a father abandons his children butlater threatens to fight for sole custodydue toa child support claim being filed, will he get it?

I have 2 children, by the same man. The father signed the birth certificate for our oldest son but not our youngest. When I was in my third trimester with our youngest son, the father abandoned us. He impregnated his new girlfriend within a month of them meeting. He didn’t make any contact with me or our sons from 11/09 until 10/10. In October, he met our youngest son and visited with both kids a handful of times before he left again. I have tried getting him to visit all the time but he never does. Now that I filed for child support, he is threatening to fight for partial custody. He has helped out with no more than $200 in the last 2+ years, my kids have no clue who he is. I work 2 jobs and attend college to support them. I’ve done everything for them by myself. They are in day care 5 days a week from 6:30 am until 4 pm as I work 7 am – 3 pm daily. Is there any chance that he can get partial custody as he has abandoned them for almost their whole lives?

Asked on April 7, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The court will consider what is in the best interests of the child (children) in determining custody. There are two types of custody; physical custody and legal custody.  Physical custody is the person with whom the children live.  Legal custody is the person who makes decisions about health, education, etc. Although it is not possible to predict the court's ruling, it is unlikely that the court would award physical custody to your ex-husband, who abandoned his children and whom his children don't even know.  The judge is not going to remove the children from your home and award physical custody to your ex-husband as this would not be in the best interests of the children and would be traumatic for the children to be separated from their mother.

As for legal custody,  joint legal custody is a possibility.   This means that both you and your ex-husband would make decisions regarding education, health of the children, etc. 

Child support and custody are separate issues. 

 


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