Getting Custody While Pregnant

16 Replies
mischelly30 - April 27, I just hired myself a lawyer and found out something potentially useful to others on this site, so I thought I would share. It turns out that, at least here in CA, you can apply for legal and physical custody for your child before it is born. I'm sure a lot of you knew this already, but this was news to me. My lawyer said it would be beneficial to file for custody before the baby's father, as we live in two different counties and, this way, hearings pertaining to the matter would all be held in my county. In the filing, you can also request the court to put an order on the father, requiring him to pay 1/2 of the maternity costs. I have a hearing on 6/1, so please wish me luck.


sa__sifras - April 27

That is sooooo good to hear!! I can't however afford a lawyer right now, I wonder if the state would do it before the baby is born since I know they do it after.....well, GOOD LUCK!


April - April 27

Wow... Cali is such a crazy state. I doubt it's like this in most other states. Especially with paying maternity costs if the mother and alleged father aren't married. There's no safe way to prove the father is the bio father until the baby is born and takes a paternity test, so in reality they can't charge him for anything until that happens. As for custody.. most of you probably don't have much to worry about. I haven't heard of many judges who give sole custody of a newborn to it's father. So in my opinion it's better if you hold off on court.. that tends to open a can of worms and can cost a whooooole lot of money. (Although, in your situation where you live in different counties, I agree that it's best to file first).


mischelly30 - April 28

Yeah, it seemed strange to me too, but, hey. My lawyer said that, if the mother b___st feeds, then the court usually awards her full custody (except in extreme instances where the mother is unfit or there is some other justification for not awarding her full custody) because the father can't fulfill b___stfeeding duties. The fees weren't really too bad. The filing fees were $350 and they were included in the costs of the lawyer. I figured it was worth the expense to give me peace of mind...I'd feel much better with "official" custody. When I was little, I remember that my cousins were taken in the middle of the night from my aunt by their father. Since she didn't have any custody arrangement through the court, she didn't have any legal rights to get them back. My uncle kept them for almost two years (took them out of state) and wouldn't let them see or speak to my aunt during this time. I'm a little freaked out at the thought of the same thing happening to me...being extra cautious. I'll let you know how it goes on 6/1.


JennyW - April 28

Wow, I didn't know in CA court can request the father to pay half of the maternity costs. Good luck!! I guess you don't really care about the father's involvement in your pregnancy or the child’s life. I admire your courage and strength. In my situation, the father wants to leave me because I didn’t want to do abortion, but I am still hoping that he will turn around and help me with the pregnancy and being in this child’s life. I am in San Francisco bay area. Where are you in CA?


mischelly30 - April 29

Hi Jenny. Yes, the father is so unfit, it's not even funny! So, I am not even bothering with visitation or child support unless he persues them on his end. I'm in the LA area, although I am looking to move within a year of having my baby because I really don't like it here. I hope things work out for you and the father.


April - April 30

Michelly... I'm pretty sure that when you go for custody, they automatically set up visitation and support... although Cali could be different... but that might be something you'd want to check on if you don't want the father to have visitation rights. Have you considered NOT taking this to court and just filling out a form with both of your signatures saying that you have sole physical custody and then filing it in court?


mischelly30 - April 30

No...custody and visitation have to be set up separately in CA. I think the laws vary by state, but here in CA it would all need to be filed separate. The custody arrangement does not guarantee visitation rights or child support.


mischelly30 - May 1

Oh, I should have mentioned that the father is awaiting sentencing on a felony charge and is facing 3-5 years, so he'll be incarcerated before the baby is born. Which means that he can't have visitation or pay child support. Sorry. I think under ordinary circ_mstances, yes, they are probably filed together.


anechka - May 1

I live in california and the father is extremely abusive towards me (not so much physically since i got pregnant) but emotionally. my work has had to call security on him and my neighbors have called the cops on him 3 times. What can i do... I don't have enough to buy a lawyer but i want him to stay away from us!!!! HELP!


April - May 1

anechka... make sure you doc_ment EVERYTHING. Keep good records of any and all interaction you have with the father. Dates, times, and details of what happened. Also... see if you can get statements from your work for each time they've had to call security on him so that you have record of that too. I'd also go down to your local police station and talk to them about it... perhaps you can get a restraining order.


mischelly30 - May 2

Hey Anechka. I live in CA too and I have a similar problem. I filed for a restraining order. You don't need a lawyer to represent you (although it helps), AND you can apply for a fee waiver if you are lower income. They just have you fill out a form reporting your monthly income and expenses. It was pretty easy, just took some time.


anechka - May 2

hmmm... he seems to have agreed to sign a contract... would it be alright if we just notarized a contract saying he gave up his rights to the child???


April - May 3

A notorized contract wouldn't be valid OR enforcable. You'd have to get a judge to let him give up his rights and that isn't likely to happen if you aren't married with a husband willing to adopt your child.


mischelly30 - May 4

Do you really want him to give up his rights? Are you married? If so, then I'm not sure how he'd go about giving up his legal rights. But, if you are not married, then under CA law he technically doesn't have any legal rights or responsibilities until paternity is established in the court. Did you file a Pet_tion for Establishment of Parentage with the court? If you didn't file the Pet_tion, and don't want him to have any legal rights (and he doesn't want to gain legal rights), just don't file the paperwork, and ask him to not file it, either. The good thing about this is, you can always choose to file at a later point in time if you decide you want child support. If you already filed it, and he was served, I don't think there's much you can do to un-file the form. The court will put in a request for child support, and he will have the option of requesting visitation. Hope that helps--good luck.


AndrewGeorge - December 14

This is something a very good provision. A good lawyer is responsible enough to decide child custody issues in an unbiased and fair way. My sister and her husband are getting divorced, while she is pregnant. She hired a lawyer from tarabay-gemayel to file for the permanent custody of her child. 


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