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Here's something different: single dad - Page 11

post #201 of 236
Originally Posted by vanek26 View Post


The most critical thing I can do is to convince the court that I don't need her supervision in order to see my daughter. That flies in the face of a lot of conventional wisdom though, so I may need to just continue to suck it up for another couple of months and do things on her terms. I hope that the court process starts to speed up from here on out, but as with most things in this debacle that is also completely out of my hands. I'll keep you guys posted!

Supervised visits are not at all the default.  Really, the burden would be on her to prove that you *do* need supervised visits, not vice versa.  Perhaps the first couple of visits would be with her or another family member, but I seriously doubt you would be ordered long term supervised visits unless you have a serious history of drug abuse or the like (which it doesn't sound like).  You may be ordered short frequent visits as opposed to overnights, but I think that will depend  a lot on your area and the judge/mediator you get, plus what is possible given the distance and the fact that you both work and/or go to school?

post #202 of 236
She doesn't sound like she is Breastfeeding & that is the only way she could keep you from having overnights (if you are not an alcoholic or drug user) & even then, that only works for 12 months.
post #203 of 236

Are you able to child-proof your apartment and fit everything you need into it (crib, etc- even if you bed-share, you should still get a crib to prove you have one, bed-sharing is often frowned upon)? I can't remember if you talked about it. You may need to prove that your house is fit for a child before you can have overnights- but I could be wrong.



It may be more difficult when the child is a baby- but that will pass and, while you'll remember it, the child won't. You should definitely be able to get overnights once she's older. If she is yours, there's no reason for her to ever remember a time without you in her life. Remember that the time you're missing as a baby hurts you more than it hurts her or your bond with her- she'll bond with you, she'll likely have no idea that there was ever a time she didn't know you, and while you'll remember it, she'll only remember that you were always there for her.

I really hope that her mother will start to come around, although I wouldn't hold my breath.

post #204 of 236
If money is tight, courts are fine with a Pack & Play for sleeping. I definitely agree that you just need to childproof your space & prepare it. The most that would be required is a 'home visit/study' before you got overnights & if they ask for you to have one, you can ask for her to have one too.
post #205 of 236
Originally Posted by dinahx View Post

If money is tight, courts are fine with a Pack & Play for sleeping. I definitely agree that you just need to childproof your space & prepare it. The most that would be required is a 'home visit/study' before you got overnights & if they ask for you to have one, you can ask for her to have one too.

I'm really glad to hear that about the pack & play- we have one, but no crib, and while I don't foresee any problems with the court system- it does make me nervous sometimes.

post #206 of 236

OP, I encourage you to seek out an attorney who specializes in family law. If possible, one who practices exclusively in family law at a firm that deals exclusively in family law, would be best. They will be very understanding of your situation (they deal with it frequently) and will be the best-equipped to defend--and secure--your rights as a father. In case you and the mother are located in different states or counties/districts, you should select an attorney licensed in her state or county/district because that is where you would need to file.


As the laws vary drastically from one state to the next, it's hard to advise whether it will be difficult or straightforward for you to file for parental rights on your own, i.e. without an attorney. Some states post forms online that you fill in the blanks, sign, and submit. Others are more complex and you would have to do quite a bit of research to determine the requirements and procedure for your submission to the Court. In any case, if she obtains a lawyer of her own it is very important you do the same. I understand it is a lot of money, but the outcome will not be good if you have to "go it alone" against an attorney. They will be able to make you "lose" on some stupid technicality (not that this is supposed to be about "winning" and "losing"). If you are comfortable sharing your state, you may find some people here who have gone through the process in your state and could share some insights.


If you had some reason to believe she would be willing to negotiate the issue with you directly, an attorney ought to be willing to help you compose a parenting plan that meets the requirements of your state but not actually serve her or file for you or otherwise represent you in any capacity. At a billing rate of ~$300/hr, you'd have to come up with a lot of cash going that route anyway. The good news is if you can pay the retainer (borrow money from your family, use a credit card--eek) they should set up a payment plan for whatever additional costs there may be after the retainer. If you're able to come to an agreement with her without lawyers (her behavior suggests this is not likely) you could get some "unused" cash back from the retainer, but if this goes to mediation or before a judge, the retainer is probably just the beginning. And it sucks.



As others have alluded, you have to think of the next 18 years and where you want to be in your parenting relationship with your daughter over them. That means not only thinking about getting to see her in the short term, but also your right to contribute input for decisions going forward (education, health care, religion) and to get to actively parent her for more substantial amount of time as she gets older. If you're looking for ideas of what that might look like, Illinois has a default parenting plan/schedule that I see referenced repeatedly, probably because it specifies a default parenting schedule that accounts for the fact children grow up (i.e. what makes a good schedule for an infant is not necessarily the same as for a teenager). The details may not satisfy your own state's requirements, but reading the IL default plan might give you an idea of the scope you might want to cover in the parenting plan you suggest.



Given the negative association of the word "visitation" you might think of this process as working to obtain parenting time with your daughter. Some states use this terminology in state statues/laws, but even if yours doesn't, the phrasing sounds much more positive than "visitation." :-)

post #207 of 236
Thread Starter 

Thank you for that detailed response!


We both live in Upstate New York, for whatever that's worth. It seems like I can get the forms online to file for visitation/custody. As usual, the family court was no help when I attempted to call and ask. I merely asked if I could file for visitation on the same day I get the paternity test results and they transferred me to 4 different people before finally saying "Any and all petitions can be filed with the clerk" and hanging up on me. I can understand them not wanting to provide me with legal advice or strategy but procedural questions shouldn't be so difficult.


As far as finding a lawyer in her county, I've been on the hunt for that today and the internet offers slim pickings. I think I've already mentioned this but she lives in a very rural county with low, spaced out population. There are very few law firms that I can find on the internet search engines and not a single one that seems to exclusively deal in family law.


In any event, a week from today I'll either officially be a father or be able to put this all behind me.

post #208 of 236
Again: it will be a huge mistake to try to DIY with no lawyer. However I can share with you that Upstate NY is VERY dad friendly! My BFF has a baby daddy with *convictions* for selling Ganja: she tried to get supervised visitation & totally failed. He has joint custody.

My other BFF has a baby daddy with a court diagnosed alcohol dependency & he gets solo visitation too & can have overnights as soon as he complies with a treatment program. And that BFF is a legal genius with a fantastic lawyer & she is a beyond competent mama.

If you PM me your town I can maybe help you find an affordable lawyer.
post #209 of 236

I'm glad to hear the cards may not be stacked against OP (for this case, anyway--it may not have been the ideal outcome for your BFFs, dinahx).


Perhaps the state bar association referral service can help you track down an attorney - http://www.nysba.org/lawyerreferral/


The districts aren't necessarily just one county-- http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/cts-outside-nyc-FAMILY.shtml. In the more rural areas, it may include both of your counties in the district. On the up side, if you can find an attorney near the courthouse, you can avoid paying them to travel an hour to hearings. It's inconvenient for you, of course, but probably cheaper to put gas in your car than to pay billable hours! If you can't find someone close to the courthouse, you can expand your search to your county (or even beyond, staying within NY). A more distant attorney comes with some real (travel) and possibly some intangible (perhaps no previous experience with the judge) costs, but nothing insurmountable.



On the chance she'll try to disappear to cut you out of your child's life, I might be inclined to try to gather the materials to file the same day as the hearing so you can serve her and file your petition with the court that day (probably not to the official reading the results of the test, but to the clerk). Of course, it would mean you have to work quickly to prepare the paperwork (and find an attorney!) and spend both time and money preparing for something that might not be needed. It really is complicated!

post #210 of 236
You might try your university lawyer if they offer one for students. Ours doesn't do divorce but will proof read and suggest changes to forms once you fill them out. Some lawyers will do the same if you are upfront about what you are looking for. County shouldn't matter for that.
post #211 of 236
Thread Starter 

Two days until I find out... I can't believe how nervous this is making me! I literally have dreamt about this nonstop all week. Last night, I had a dream that I overslept and missed the court hearing, another one that I found out the results in the newspaper, and yet another dream that my car broke down and I was taking a boat to the courthouse. This has really infiltrated my mind.


I'm glad to see that NY is apparently father friendly, but a few of the legal advice sites I've been browsing suggest otherwise. In any event I'm sure it is a case by case thing to some extent.

post #212 of 236

I don't know how you are doing it OP.. I came across your thread less than a week ago and the suspense is killing me..  Either way, you're going to make one fantastic dad. If not now.. then at some point in the future. So stay positive no matter what happens. Your heart is in the right place and you are a winner no matter what the outcome. The way I look at it is, if the baby ends up being yours, then congratulations you are a dad!! :)) If the baby ends up NOT being yours then congratulations, you don't need to put up with this horrid lady any more!!! :)) So go in with your head held high because you are coming out a winner either way!!

post #213 of 236

I actually thought about you today and told DP you'll be finding out soon! You have every right to be very anxious about this... I wish I had any thing smart to say. Best of luck!

post #214 of 236
Thinking of you and sending good thoughts!
post #215 of 236

Can't wait to hear how it all turns out! Thinking of you.

post #216 of 236
Thread Starter 

After a solid 20 minutes of sleep last night, I made the long drive down to family court. She was already there, sitting with her boyfriend. I went up and shook his hand despite him scowling at me... but whatever. So after literally sitting for an hour and a half, just waiting, we finally got called into the room. In we went, and the judge gave us each a packet with the results...







I am NOT the father. 0% probability according to the test. I was stunned, absolutely speechless. They handed me the bill to pay $135 for the paternity test and I barely even mouthed an "okay". Baby Mom proceeded to leave faster than I thought humanly possible and get the heck out of there immediately while I just kind of stood there. "I don't know whether to congratulate you or tell you I'm sorry," said the judge as he motioned for me to leave.


In hindsight, it makes some sense now. When she found out she was pregnant, she had nobody and I was probably the best available guy from the pool of people she slept with that month. She probably figured if she told me that the baby might not be mine, I wouldn't be as supportive. So she lied and promised me I was the only one she was with that month. I guess I was incredibly naive for falling for it.


She kept it up for a while, and my entire family got on board. My mom was excited to be a grandmother. Her iPad is filled with pictures of the baby from the internet.


But this explains why she found it so easy to dispose of me when she met her current boyfriend. And then she didn't want to admit to sleeping around so much so she tried just putting her head in the sand for as long as possible. It makes sense now, but still.


That's a year of agony, shame, fear, guilt, rage, and everything else that went into this... all gone now. My life just completely returns to normal. I'm certainly a very lucky man. There is a hint of disappointment, but I know that I dodged a real bullet here too.


As much as I dreamed of being able to really stick it to her and tell her how I felt about how I've been treated... I don't think I will. I think I will just end it and bury her in my memories, never to deal with her or communicate again.


Finally, I want to thank every single one of you who posted in this thread SO much. You've all been a source of hope and inspiration during this trying time in my life. You seem like wonderful people and I wish I knew you all personally so I could give you the thanks that you deserve~

post #217 of 236
OP, I am so glad you finally have your answer now and that you seem to be handling it ok. It's a shock either way, but at least this way you don't have to deal with her and her family for the rest of your life. However I also realize you probably will have a bit of grieving to do too (and that's ok, you should allow yourself this if you need it).

You sound like a great guy who will one day make an amazing father and hopefully someone an amazing husband. Good luck in your endeavors moving forward and hopefully when the time does come you will come back to Monthering for support in other ways!
post #218 of 236

I'm glad that it's over now. Definitely find support- you had a whirlwind of emotions this last year and you may need help getting back to normal. You mentioned this was already effecting your relationships- I imagine it still will. I hope things go well from now on!

post #219 of 236

Wow... I don't even know what to say. "She's a real censored.gif" comes to mind. Best wishes as you resume your "normal" life. I think it would be very normal to grieve for a while, for the life you thought you were going to have. *hugs*. 

post #220 of 236
I don't know whether to congratulate you or say I'm sorry either. But I can agree you dodged a bullet having to coparent with her. Be kind to yourself, as you move forward from the roller coaster. I hope you're able to find the silver lining in all this someday.

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