Decatur, AL asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Alabama

Q: My child's father has not been seen since I was 2 months pregnant.

He contacted me via text while I was pregnant, but never asked me about the baby. I always kept lines of communication open and told him he could ask at any time. My child is almost 1 now, he has not tried to make any contact. I changed my number (new phone) but he knows where I live. I have not reached out because he is unstable, history of drugs and alcohol, incident with his other child and driving drunk, etc. I am so afraid of what he could be capable of.

If he was to come around and ask for custody, what would a judge normally give as far as parenting time for a 1 year old? I don't know any of his family and my child would be scared to death! He isn't on birth certificate, and no child support order.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nelson Craig Johnson
Nelson Craig Johnson
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: It sounds like the first thing that he would have to do is file a claim with the court requesting to establish paternity. Assuming he is the father and paternity is established he would then need to request sole or joint custody, or request that he be given visitation rights.

The key factor in any child custody case is "what is in the best interest of the child?" That will be the question the judge is asking himself. In most cases that involves some time with both parents. There are exceptions to every rule though.

If anyone tells you they can guarantee a result they are lying. If he has a history of abuse, DUI (especially with a child in the car), history of drugs, or other factors that would not make him suitable to have custody of the child then it is likely a judge would limit time with the child. It is possible that the judge would only allow him supervised visitation for a set number of hours in some location other than his home.

If you are in need of the child support you could file a similar action to establish paternity. However, if you do so I would expect him to request custody/visitation rights.

For anymore specific information you should speak with an attorney and show them the evidence you have of his unfit nature.

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