Anchorage, AK asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Alaska

Q: Will my child’s birth father be granted shared custody?

My child’s birth father left state when our child was 1. She’s turning 6 this year. He has had a few FaceTime calls , does not pay child support, and can go months without contact to now over two years before out of the blue asking how she is and not contacting for weeks again. We do not have a child support order through a custody agreement, only straight through child support. If I filed for full legal and physical custody , would he be granted shared custody since Alaska pushes for both parents to be involved as much as possible? If so, would that mean my child has to now be confused and be sent Out of state to visit someone she doesn’t know?

1 Lawyer Answer
Stefan Otterson
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Licensed in Alaska

A: In a custody case, nothing is certain. However, it is quite hard to get full legal and physical custody with no visitation unless the other parent has a criminal sexual abuse conviction or has a history of domestic violence, etc. Even then visitation would often be allowed, but supervised. A parent who has not had contact will often be given a series of gradually increasing visits, starting with phone calls, then short visits at your home, then short visits in public, then longer visits, etc, until a point is reached where the child should feel comfortable visiting in the other parent's home. That's the nature of custody proceedings - even if you get full custody with the other parent only getting phone visits, the other parent can eventually ask to modify the order based on having built a relationship through the phone calls.

If you're remarried, and your spouse is willing, another option might be a step-parent adoption. Unless the bio father consents, that would require a trial. If you want to explore that option, you should talk to an adoption attorney to see if it's viable.

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