Q: local public school says I need to have custody of my daughter to sign her up for school
I am attempting to sign my daughter up for kindergarten in our local public school. Her mother recently passed away this year. I am on the birth certificate and we'd have lived together for around 7 years and before our daughter was born. I provide all health insurance, claim her on taxes, and provide all care for her. The school is trying to tell me that they will not allow me to enroll her in school because they need me to go to the courts and obtain custody. when I spoke to a lawyer before he stated I would not need any custody due to the fact I am her parent and sole provider. Is my understanding that I should not have to obtain any custody to be able to sign her up for school. Can you shed any light on this?
A: If you were not married to the mother, then the mother had sole legal custody and parental rights. Those parental rights did not automatically transfer to you when she died. It often is not sufficient that your name is on the birth certificate, as you found with the school. If a court has not confirmed your paternity and granted you parental rights, then you need to file with the court to legally establish your parental rights so you can register her in school, obtain medical insurance and medical care for her, government benefits, etc. Use the Find a Lawyer tab to consult a local family law attorney to represent you in filing with the court.
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