Q: Single working mom for 8 years. Biological dad never paid any child support threatens to take child away.
The biological father of my stepson who has never once paid for any of his living expenses is threatening to take his mother to court and get custody of our son. She has always tried to be civil and never kept pour son away from him or his side of the family but since I've come along he (biological dad) who lives at home with his parents at 28 is now threatening to take him away from her. She has worked and 100% fully supported him on her own but as a parent she is fearful that this could even be a possibility. Given the situation, what should she expect and is there any reason for her to fear that this could happen.
A: The issues of child support and physical custody are separate issues. The child's father has an obligation to provide support for the child. The child's mother can go to court and request child support any time. The Court will award child support based on the parents' income and the worksheet generated by the statutes. The Court will award past child support as well.
If either party asks the Court to get involved in custody issues, the Court's job would be to determine what custody arrangements are in the best interest of the child based on a long list of factors and any other relevant circumstances. The Court would determine physical custody which deals with how much time the child spends with each parent and under what conditions. The Court would also determine legal custody which deals with how the parents make life decisions for the child on issues like medical care, education, religion, etc.
It is not reasonable to expect that either parent would be able to "take away" custody from the other. It is much more likely that each parent would have a role in decision making for the child and each parent would have meaningful and regular contact with the child. The precise outcome, of course, depends on all of the facts and circumstances.
The process takes time. I would recommend that the child's mother retain qualified counsel so that a more specific plan can be created based on all of the relevant considerations.
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