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#181 of 236 Old 10-27-2013, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's great you got to spend some time with your (potential) daughter! I can't imagine how nerve wrecking the wait is...

 

A few more weeks and you'll know for sure. And from everything you told us so far, I find it highly unlikely that you'll be able to reliably settle this with her without an official third party. This is also going to be a huge and emotionally-charged change for her.  Mothers tend to be (at least in my experience) quite possessive of their newborns or small babies even when they are on good terms with the father (I know I had a hard time trusting DP with DD in the beginning and it took a lot of holding back on my part to not interfere in his relationship with her). So imagine she has to give up control to someone who is practically a stranger (to her). Most like there is going to be a lot of resistance on her part. While understandable, it's not fair to you.

 

Best of luck!

 

I'm trying to stay rational and keep all of this in mind, but it's really difficult sometimes. When she first told me she was pregnant as I was upset I was told, "well just imagine how she feels! She has to carry the baby." And then when she started ignoring me during her pregnancy I was told, "well just imagine how she feels! She's pregnant so her hormones and emotions are all mixed up" and then when she had the baby and continued pretending I didn't exist I was told, "well just imagine how she feels! She just gave birth to a child. There's so much going on for her right now!" And now it's still a matter of "imagine how she feels! Mothers are very protective of their newborns. she isn't going to easily let you have access."

 

In my eyes, she's been showered with gifts, congratulations, warm smiles, a new boyfriend and apparently a house, and most importantly a beautiful baby girl for her efforts. And I've had the pleasure of being called white trash among other things by family members, commonly being told I was "trapped" and my life is "ruined" by friends, losing every shred of desire I once had to date women, trudging through the awful family court system, and dealing with her manipulation and immaturity just for a brief glimpse of my daughter at Applebee's.

 

I assume most of you posting on here are women, and many of you have experienced pregnancy and childbirth. I haven't. I didn't even see the mom once when she was "showing". As much as I feel like I should have some sort of bond with this baby, I certainly don't. I'm a complete stranger to her and she is to me as well. So really, I'm hanging all of this on a prayer that it is the right thing for me and more importantly for this little girl. But right now I don't know anything beyond that prayer, and it plagues me most days.

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#182 of 236 Old 10-27-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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Honestly, I have to admit that I don't have much sympathy for her. I know firsthand that pregnancy, childbirth, and new parenthood can be very difficult under the best of circumstances. I'm seriously struggling with this pregnancy, and I have all kinds of support. But the difficulty she may be experiencing is not any kind of excuse for the way she's treated you. Assuming that you are the father, which I think even she believes, she's shutting out the father of her child, and depriving her child of a loving parent, for no reason beyond her own selfishness. It's cruel to you AND the baby.

I was raised without a father (his own fault). Considering the kind of man my dad was, I was better off without him than with him. But that loss still created a huge, painful hole in my life. I can't imagine willfully depriving my child of a good, loving father. :-(
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#183 of 236 Old 10-28-2013, 04:43 AM
 
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Yeah, I had some sympathy for her earlier on in the process. I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because it seemed like her behaviors were mostly defensible if not ideal. I got the not wanting to text message all the time, and not wanting him in the delivery room, stuff like that... But she crossed that line some time ago, between defensible and just obnoxious, and now I think that trying to keep her daughter away from her father is just a real crappy move for everyone involved and there isn't a good justification for it. 

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#184 of 236 Old 10-31-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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oh I hope I didn't come off as trying to sympathize for her, I was just thinking I wouldn't trust any deal you make with her without something solid and official. She obviously used you when it suited her and ignored you when it didn't - despicable. And as PP said, she's keeping her daughter from her father for purely selfish reasons - even more despicable. 

 

I'm so sorry your friends/family are being negative about this.  When I was pregnant with DD, DP was living away and was told by a "good friend" pretty much what you mentioned. Said friend also encouraged him to reduce contact with me and to try to get out. And you know what, now he says that she is the best thing that happened to him. He got out of a lousy going-nowhere job, literally grew up overnight and suddenly had a strong drive about where his life is going. 

 

You're really in limbo, and that just sucks. Not knowing is mentally draining. You mentioned you're doing your undergraduate studies, perhaps you can get some counseling at the university you're attending?


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#185 of 236 Old 11-06-2013, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One week from tomorrow will make 4 weeks since the test, which starts the 4-6 weeks time frame I may get the paternity test results in the mail. The absolute latest I could find out would be on the 22. It's really nerve wracking, to say the least. There's still that faint chance that all of this could just disappear and I can chalk it up to one bad year in my life. But I have to stop myself from thinking that way. I don't want the day I officially become a father to be a disappointment, you know?

 

Baby Mama has been her usual flakey self, which is very disappointing. I always feel like I'm making progress when I see her in person, and then she goes right back to her usual avoidant self. She told me when we took the test that I could certainly continue to come down and see the baby. I guess I was naive to believe her, considering:

 

she straight up ignored me for a week and a half, and then texted me with an excuse so bad it insulted me. "Hey I haven't had my phone for a week did you text me?" (iPhones with iMessaging make lies like this kind of hard to believe, to say the least)

 

Of course I went along with it and asked her if I could come see the baby the following week. She said we could work something out, and I suggested three possible days and asked her which one worked best for her. In response she vanished again, and she's back to ignoring me.

 

I think her strategy is going to be that she will pretend she honestly didn't think I was the father this entire time. This way, the courts will understand why she was so hesitant to give me access. I wonder if the fact that I went to all of her early ultrasounds with her and paid for the gender determination screening will kind of dispel the notion that I was just some crazy would-be dad banging on her door.

 

I think the elephant in the room is definitely her boyfriend. I was hoping that he was just some typical hick guy who was more concerned with his truck and big game hunting than playing daddy. But he may be pulling all of the strings here. After all, they're buying a house together in his hometown. He may very well be foridding her to text me. I know this is just speculation though.

 

Soon my focus is going to shift completely. The moment I find out I'm the father, I am going to devote everything I have towards spending time with my daughter... unsupervised. Hopefully then my posts on here will be less whiney, but until then thanks for bearing with me! :)

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#186 of 236 Old 11-08-2013, 11:22 AM
 
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I can only imagine how challenging it must be to be waiting for so long. Of course, when we look at the big picture, as folks have been pointing out, it's not really that long. Still, it must feel like forever! I'm sure that if I were in your shoes, I would be a nervous wreck and completely freaking out by now. Especially with such a sad, sorry excuse for not responding to your texts. So I admire your patience and graciousness through this whole ordeal. I know that doesn't make it any easier, but at least looking back you will know you were respectful, calm, and persistent during this tough time, and that is a pretty awesome message to teach your kiddo!

By the way, I have a one year old, and as challenging and overwhelming and life altering as having a baby is, I still can't imagine treating the potential parent of my baby the way she has been treating you. It's just not okay. You are definitely doing the right thing by "going along with it" but I wanted to acknowledge that it just...well, it sucks!

Thinking good thoughts for you. May this be resolved soon!

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#187 of 236 Old 11-11-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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Soon my focus is going to shift completely. The moment I find out I'm the father, I am going to devote everything I have towards spending time with my daughter... unsupervised. Hopefully then my posts on here will be less whiney, but until then thanks for bearing with me! :)

 

Like others, I've cruised by and been struck by your posts and the situation you've been dealing with so well, considering how complex and emotionally unsettling it has been, and ongoing.

Not in the least an ideal way to become a parent, but your dedication to doing the right thing, and being involved is really impressive. Good on you! 

 

I did just want to say, that whilst you have said that you would be cool with not being the biological father, but also that you're pretty sure she is yours...maybe just be aware that if, on the slim chance she isn't yours, you may have a period of grieving. You have met her now too, so will have bonded somewhat. Also not just potential grief for a lost relationship with the little girl, but for all the emotional and psychological energy you've put into this journey so far. Take comfort in the path you chose up to this point though - you could not have done any better by all accounts, considering.

 

Be kind to yourself either way.

You seem to have a supportive family too, so that's fantastic.

 

All the best for the results day.

 

Whether now, or later - you seem like you will be an extraordinary father, and any child would be lucky to have you around.

 

G

x

 

PS: Families are such varied things these days. Family is where the love is. My own parents were only 19 when they had me - they had a shotgun wedding, and managed to stay happy for three years. Then my mother upped and went. I forgave her long ago, though her reasons were always and still are dubious (I now have a three year old, and I can't imagine leaving her now, or ever)....but on the plus side, I had and have a wonderful relationship with my father who raised me with the help of girlfriends and grandmothers.

Mother's of course can be cool - but for some of us, our father's ROCK MORE. 

 

:joy 

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#188 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Try as I might, I can't seem to get through to Mom. After another week of ignoring me, she texted me the other day saying that she's been busy and unfortunately she doesn't have another day off until our court date so she can't find time to let me come see the baby. I probably should have just let it go, but I couldn't help but say "So you work for the next 14 straight days?" Again, her awful excuses are just pathetic and insulting to me.

 

She went on to say that she's picking up all these extra shifts at work because she's doing what she needs to so her daughter can have an "awesome Christmas" and added that she is doing a damn good job.

 

Again, I should have just let it go but I really couldn't resist, given my frustration level. "An awesome Christmas is meaningless to a newborn baby. Bonding with her father is much more important and that needs to become a priority for you," I said. That resulted in her sending me a slew of angry messages calling me rude, arrogant, nasty, and implying that she is really hoping that somehow the baby turns out not to be mine. Realizing that things were taking a turn for the worse, I apologized for my tone, wished her a good day, and reminded her that I was available if she needed anything.

 

I put my messages in quotes so you can see that I'm really not being that rude or nasty. I know many of you may be wondering if I am skewing my story to make myself look better, which is a valid concern. Honestly though, I have been a boy scout when it comes to my tone with her and it is ripping me to shreds because I am not normally so patient. I can see why she reacts the way she does towards me though. Hindsight is really funny. I remember the day she told me she was pregnant and I was Googling ways to get out of it while she pleaded with me not to disappear.

 

In the meantime, I am 10 days away from that fateful court date. Every day I nervously open my mailbox to see if they may have sent the results early. I've been looking further into my visitation rights and it looks like I should be trying to file something known as a parenting plan. Of course, it's hard to know exactly how aggressive I should be when I draft it. I think under the best of circumstances, anything I suggest will be resisted by mom if for no other reason than to spite me. Considering she gets so bent out of shape that I want to come see the baby for a half hour on her terms, I can't imagine how difficult anything else is going to be.

 

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!

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#189 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 01:58 PM
 
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I have been following along for a while but missed out on the part when the baby was born... when was that?

 

And hang in there, you're almost there!  :Hug

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#190 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 02:08 PM
 
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I have been following along for a while but missed out on the part when the baby was born... when was that?

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1383798/heres-something-different-single-dad/30#post_17439234
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#191 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 05:21 PM
 
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You're doing the right trying. Your kiddo is a lucky little girl. Anxiously waiting to hear what goes on in court!
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#192 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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In the meantime, I am 10 days away from that fateful court date. Every day I nervously open my mailbox to see if they may have sent the results early. I've been looking further into my visitation rights and it looks like I should be trying to file something known as a parenting plan. Of course, it's hard to know exactly how aggressive I should be when I draft it. I think under the best of circumstances, anything I suggest will be resisted by mom if for no other reason than to spite me. Considering she gets so bent out of shape that I want to come see the baby for a half hour on her terms, I can't imagine how difficult anything else is going to be.

 

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!

Delurking to say:

Just a reminder that if you are the father - you have the right to see your child. You can pursue joint custody and liberal visitation. I suggest asking legal counsel to help you draw up a parenting plan that will maximize your access to your daughter.


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#193 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 05:39 PM
 
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If you do turn out to be the father and truly want to maintain a relationship with your daughter, i suggest you start documenting every text, phone call and attempt you have made to be a part of her life since you found out about the pregnancy. The court system likes documentation, and it may help your case.

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#194 of 236 Old 11-12-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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Agh, that is so frustrating! I don't blame you for making that comment. She is unreasonable! I agree with others that as soon as you confirm that this baby is yours, you should seek out some kind of legal council to help you have a strong case and get fair visitation. hang in there!!
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#195 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 03:57 AM
 
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Hang on... relief is in sight. Once you've proven paternity, the courts won't accept her excuses as to why she can't facilitate visitation. 

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#196 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know it's par for the course but I just hate the sound of the word "visitation". It makes me feel like I'm some sort of criminal or something. I guess this is where living an hour away really hurts me though. Aside from visiting at mom and bf's house, what am I going to do with the baby? Take her to Wal-Mart? It doesn't make a ton of sense to let me take the baby for two hours and just hang out in the town, even though I would vastly prefer that to an awkward meet and greet with two people who probably wish I would just disappear.

 

I've contacted a few more lawyers in hopes of getting some help making a fair parenting plan. I thought it would be reasonable to pay them for their hour or so of time, and have that be it. But none of them seem to want to take my money unless I retain them, which is going to cost thousands that I don't have. I'm also surprised by the number of lawyers who simply don't return my phone calls / emails. Maybe they can smell me out as someone with limited finances and don't want to be bothered.

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#197 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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You don't need visitation, you can get partial custody if you are the dad. Meaning input on education, religion, health, etc. Meaning overnights. Apply for public representation, otherwise YES you have to pay a retainer. Find the best lawyer @ the lowest cost. My BFF got a lawyer for 1000 dollars & he did fantastic by her. Scrimping now will mean a lifetime w/o your daughter. It is very worth it. You can come up with 1000 or 1500, just shop around.
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#198 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 05:11 PM
 
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Short visits can be done at the park, indoor play places (Chuck E Cheeses & the like, or play areas in malls), the library, etc. You could also do museums, science centers Or just take her to get your weekly grocery shopping done (get cooler bags so your stuff makes it home ok). Short visits should only happen for a couple of months for her to get used to you, and you'll soon have longer visits where you could meet in the middle to pick her up and take her back to your neighborhood.

 

If it's helpful for you, start scoping out places you could take her now. Learn the area where she lives and find places that would be fun outings for you. Babies are portable and happy to see the world around them so even long walks can be great.


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#199 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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Also, you should not be 100% responsible for transportation. In our case, we're only responsible for 50%, which means you either meet halfway, or you each drive one way, or you take turns.
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#200 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 07:36 PM
 
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It is possible to get paperwork to file for custody without a lawyer. You can ask for the visitation arrangement you want, shared legal and physical custody, spell out how you want holidays done (who gets her on father's day, Christmas, Christmas Eve), and set a place half way between your homes as the pickup place or with you picking up from her home and her picking up from yours. If she moved you might even have luck getting the burden of transportation put on her. I suggest asking for full days and overnights now because you will have to go back to court again later to change it if you don't. Once a plan is filed it is on her to accept or contest it. I suggest requesting a high amount with overnights so that you are still left with a reasonable amount after mediation.
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#201 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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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?

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#202 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 08:57 PM
 
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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.
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#203 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 08:59 PM
 
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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.


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#204 of 236 Old 11-13-2013, 09:06 PM
 
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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.
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#205 of 236 Old 11-14-2013, 07:25 AM
 
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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.


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#206 of 236 Old 11-14-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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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." :-)


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#207 of 236 Old 11-15-2013, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#208 of 236 Old 11-15-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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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.
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#209 of 236 Old 11-15-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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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!

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#210 of 236 Old 11-15-2013, 01:47 PM
 
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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.
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