Q: I am currently in Pennsylvania my daughter is 9 years old, Her father is in Puerto Rico I left when she was 1 years old
He was into drugs and around alot of people with drama he would abuse me mentally i was living in a very bad environment with him so I decided it was best for me to take my child and leave. It's been 9 years my daughter doesn't know who he is never spoke to him and she suffers with ADHD and is now controlled with medication. he's now contacted a family member harrasing me now with layers and that he wants custody but he's in Puerto Rico will he have any rights towards my child? He's never paid any sorts of child support. My daughter calls my fiance dad and has helped me raise her since she was 3. I am terrified of my child's safety and well being around him. What step should I take?
A: In custody court the judge will look to the 16 custody factors and decide what is in the best interest of the child. Included in those factors is the abuse of alcohol or drugs, so his history will be considered in a custody case. He will likely be entitled to some kind of relationship with your child; the question is whether you have sufficient evidence to prove you believe he may be harmful and therefore limit his contact to supervised visitation. That being said, it is also common for the court to order reunification counseling prior to commencing a visitation schedule if the child and parent have been apart for a significant amount of time.
If you receive a complaint for custody you should contact an experienced family law attorney to decide the best course of action for your situation.
Please feel free to visit my website to learn more about the factors PA judges take into consideration in custody cases. http://www.pafamilylawyers.com/Child-Custody/Determining-Custody-in-PA.shtml
Lisa Marie Vari, Esquire
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