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Author Topic: Unwed Teenage Father and custody/visitation...  (Read 3855 times)


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Unwed Teenage Father and custody/visitation...
« on: Apr 21, 2005, 09:59:49 AM »
Hi. I need some help. I live in LA county in California. Here's the situation:

My cousin Chris is a 16 year old dad who has an 8 month old baby. The girlfriend's mother passed away before the baby was born and her father is a drug addict who couldn't keep up the rent. So they were evicted. The girlfriend has been under our care since before the baby was born. She was over everyday and spent the weekends here with the permission of her father. She is considered part of the family. We have helped her with babysitting, school, any expenses, rides to doctor visits... etc...

Her sister (same age) became pregnant this past summer. Their 33 year old brother called up social services on the father for the eviction (there has been bad blood for years as he's a drug user and got his wife/the kids' mom into drugs and she passed away from hepatitis as a result). This brother hasn't been very involved in the girls' lives and hasn't been involved in the baby's at all. The other family members on her side didnt want or couldn't take her in. So my cousin's mom and her 7 kids and myself have cared for her the whole time since.

Social services came over and talked to the girlfriend last week. She has nowhere else to go so she's going to the brother's house. He's planning on some kind of guardianship over her and is filing to be the caretaker for the baby. My cousin Chris is unsure what to do. Don't they technicaly have joint custody? What can Chris do to guarantee his own visitation? Or the baby spending the night at his house? The girlfriend's brother has already said that he won't permit the girlfriend to come over and wont let the baby stay the night. My cousin will go from seeing his daughter everyday for many hours including the entire weekend to perhaps a few hours a week at best. What steps are there to take? Where can I find information on how he should deal with this? Anybody have experience with this?

Also is there free couseling or some kind of support group to help him understand things?

Thanks so much.

Kitty C.

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RE: Unwed Teenage Father and custody/visitation...
« Reply #1 on: Apr 21, 2005, 02:41:24 PM »
One idea is emancipation for the mother, that way her brother can't get guardianship.  One questions I have is 'why' is she going to her brother's?  Is social services saying she MUST live with a family member?  Or is the brother riding rough shod over the whole deal?

Your cousin needs to file a paternity action, since even tho he 'knows' he's the father, since he is an un-wed father, he does NOT automatically get joint custody.  So he needs to file that also.  The tricky part here is that both parents are minors.  So I 'strongly' suggest getting an atty.  Because the brother may be 'applying pressure' on her to do this...whatever she and your cousin do, it MUST be in the best interest of the child, so that the child has the benefit of BOTH parents.

One thing you MUST keep track of and document thoroughly is how much involvement this brother has actually had, not only with the baby, but with his sister as well.  If you have to go up against him in court, you need to prove his lack of involvement.  I've got a feeling this guy will be looking at your cousin as source of income, by way of CS.  You may not be able to prove his intent, but you certainly need to prove his uninvolvement.  Or rather, make HIM prove his UN-involvement.
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RE: Unwed Teenage Father and custody/visitation...
« Reply #2 on: Apr 21, 2005, 08:19:12 PM »


Some other possible useful sources:

Beverly Hills Bar Association
Guardianship Assistance
(213) 974-5517
Superior Court Probate Dept.
111 N. Hill Street, Rm. 258
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Emancipation Program
(213) 351-0107
Department of Children and Family Services
3530 Wilshire Blvd., 4th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Fathers United for Equal Justice
(714) 542-3100
1212 N. Broadway, #133
Santa Ana, CA 92701

There was also a program called LA Dads but I cannot find them on the net... You may try the public health department.


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