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Rights for Deadbeat Dad?

ndc's picture

This isn't about me or DH, and it's long, so bear with me. 

I have a friend from HS (I'll call her Jane) who had a child with a college boyfriend.  Child is almost 10.  Jane was still together with BF at the time the child was born, but they lived 1000 miles apart after BF's mom, with whom they had been living, told Jane she should go live with her own parents.  I.e., she kicked her out about 6 weeks before the baby was born, and BF did not come with her.  BF was present for the birth but did not sign the birth certificate or any acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital.  He saw his son again when the baby was a month old.  About a month after that, BF and Jane broke up.  She has not seen or heard from BF since, and BF has not seen the child since that 2 day visit when he was 1 month old.   

Up until very recently, child had no clue who his father was and never expressed any curiosity.   His maternal grandfather was his father figure.  BF has never paid or offered child support, nor has Jane asked him for it.  The child is supported by and currently lives with Jane's parents, who also do a lot of the child care while Jane is in school and/or at work.  Jane's parents are wealthy and have no problem supporting Jane and her child.  Jane has had some minimal contact with BF's parents, who have sent a birthday gift for the child every year and occasionally ask for pictures, which she sends.  

A couple months ago the paternal grandparents asked to come see the child (first time since he was a month old), and Jane agreed.  They came and I guess had a nice visit.  Since then, they've been texting and video chatting with the child (he has his own phone).  About a week ago, BF started texting the child.  He apparently told the child the reason he hadn't seen him in all these years was that Jane's parents had prevented it (not true, although they were not unhappy he was out of the picture).  He also told the child he wasn't ready to see him yet, but would be in a year.  (WTF??)  Jane's parents and siblings told her that she should block him from the child's phone or at least try to control what the child sees, since BF is lying to him.  Jane said she's not worried about BF, because there's no way he'd be able to get any custody or visitation.

Her parents and siblings, and I also, told her that if he tries to get visitation, he'll get something - probably some kind of step up plan eventually leading to long distance visitation.  She can't believe this is possible.  I really have no experience with a situation like this, as my DH has a court order and has had 50/50 custody of his kids since he and BM split, but I've heard and read enough to think that Jane is misinformed.  She claims a lawyer told her this almost 10 years ago when she consulted him before the child was born, but her parents remember nothing of the sort.  Do any Step-Talkers have familiarity with a situation like this?  Are we wrong in thinking BF can get some kind of visitation if he decides to prove his paternity and seek it, even though he's been a total deadbeat  for almost ten years? 

Winterglow's picture

She should look into what constitutes abandonment where she lives and FAST. He wasn't interested for TEN years, why should she risk her family for him (assuming that everything is true). 

Rags's picture

Jane is an idiot, and BF is a deadbeat looser POS.

TIme for Jane to nail this POS for child abandonment or .... for a shit ton of CS.

They both, Jane and her spermdonor, will likely find that life is going to become a shit storm for both of them.

Spermdonor will in all likelihood get a notable amount of visitation, eventually, and will also get nailed for a shit ton of CS.

This poor kid is so screwed.  On both sides of his gene pool.




ndc's picture

It's hard to disagree with this.  Jane's son does have the good fortune to have good grandparents who act more like parents than his parents do.  My friend adores her son, but there is no way she could handle single motherhood without significant help from her parents, and I have to admit she's made a mess of the relationship with the BF and how she's handled it with her son (by never telling him much of anything).  

shamds's picture

Made a decision early on to support her and be vested in their grandchild's upbringing so she could go to college, get a job and make something of herself instead of becoming a deadbeat.

frankly the moment the absent paternal grandparents asked for visitation when they've had almost a decade to be actively present in their grandsons life would have been a hell no.

the fact they haven't held their deadbeat son to account for personally choosing to be a deadbeat and absent father from this kids life and blame it that the maternal grandparents prevented him having a relationship with the kid makes them crappy people.

they're condoning the deadbeats behaviour and actively sabotaging the relationship he has with his maternal grandparents who didn't have to but chose to financially and physically be present in their grandkids life since birth.

we always say with people like this thriving on drama to not engage so its a catch 22, does she block and ignore the deadbeat and his family or does she send a text to deadbeat putting him on notice that those lies will not be tolerated and he's had a decade to be involved and chose not to and has almost a decade of cs he's up for. He is not to trash talk her parents too

it all falls down on can he force a paternity test to demand his rights in the state he is in and if so will courts go nope he's had almost a decade and we will not uproot this kids life and award joint custody etc. 

maybe your friend needs consultation with another lawyer for refence and make a decision from there but her family are pretty convinced thw lawyer she saw was kinda spewing crap

Winterglow's picture

Ten years of absence is enough to be considered abandonment under any circumstances but she must make it official. Once that's done she can tell the guy and his parents to go take a running jump.

Definitely consult a lawyer.

SeeYouNever's picture

What does abandonment mean for them if there is no legal relationship as it is? Genuinely curious.

Winterglow's picture

It would ensure that they could never have any legal rights to the boy. No rights, no visitation. 

JRI's picture

I was married to my ex, also a deadbeat dad, so my situation was slightly different.  But the judge in my divorce case gave dear ex not only minimal CS payments (which he never paid) but also visitation.  This was after he kidnapped my 6yo son from school and held him for 3 days and after being convicted of assault on me.  The upside was that once he realized his visitation would be in my parents' backyard and I wouldnt be present altho my dad was, he never exercised them.

CS enforcement appeared to be non-existent in those days.



ndc's picture

I hear stories of what has happened to various people in family court and I am absolutely dumbfounded.  Your result has me scratching my head.

Rags's picture

And had to lay $110/mo in CS.  That was the outcome of the SpermClan's attempt to take custody from my DW when SS was a toddler.  

Fortunately for SS we never lived near the SpermClan, they only intermittently took their visitation (5wks summer, 1wk winter, 1wk spring).  SS has become a very good man.  In spite of the shallow and polluted end of his gene pool.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Jane is naive and wrong. If birth father wants to push this, he could ask for dna, agree to pay child support and get visitation. She needs to contact a lawyer now. She should block birth father from the child's phone. If he wants to talk to his son, he can do it through Jane. Until there is a dna test, birth father is considered a legal stranger to the child.

Is Jane absolutely sure that her parents didn't in some way block the father from the child at some point in the last 10 years?

ndc's picture

She doesn't think they did, and they said they've never even talked to him outside of her presence. I'm not sure what they could have done to block him from seeing the child - BF could have gone to court, and he also could have signed the acknowledgement of paternity when the child was born and he and Jane were still together. But I guess you never know. My personal opinion is that he just didn't want the responsibility and was happy to walk away when no one forced him to step up.  He always sponged off of Jane when they were together. 

Daisymazy2's picture

monitor the child with BF and his family.  If he is lying to the child, he could try to alienate the child from her.  I know first hand that BF's don't always have the kids best interest in mind. 

She needs to lawyer up NOW.

SteppedOut's picture

Honestly, now that she has allowed contact, it probably will be difficult to roll that decision back, if dbd fights for it. 

If he does try to fight for it, she better file for child support with a quickness. Guessing he will not want to pay and may sign his rights away.

However, grandparents may push him into it (since they sound kindof interested). If he files for visitation of any kind, she will have to move swiftly. Unfortunately, sounds like your friend may be on the wishy washy side.