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  • Shared Custody of Newborn

    Hello all,

    This is my first time posting here and am hoping I can look to you all for your knowledge and experience.

    I am just wondering how things are working in the courts these days in regards to shared custody. In my situation we never lived together, never married, have a newborn on the way, and we are no longer together. She has 2 children from 2 different fathers already and I will be the third. I do not wish to be a "weekend/every other weekend" dad and want to be a full part of this childs life.

    Should I be seeking a lawyer now even though I have no proof she is pregnant other than her word. I don't even know if the baby is mine. I just don't want to lose any precious time that would allow me to secure my right to my child.

    If you are a lawyer or have had experience in this issue; perhaps we can talk more in private. I'd rather not give too many details here.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    CONGRATS!! It sounds like you are really excited and I hope this child will mean the world to you!

    I would wait until you can be sure she is pregnant and then express to her your desire to be an equal part of this child's life. Do your homework, learn about parenting, what is involved and show her however you can that you will be a good dad. If you start this off with cooperation and working together in mind you may be able to avaoid most of the pitfalls of divorce and separation.

    But you also need to prepare yourself for the possibility that she will not allow you equality. Once you are sure she is pregnant and if she doesn't agree to equal parenting then I suggest you go speak to lawyer just to find out what could be involved. Don't let it scare you, you just need to know what you could be up against.


    • #3
      Hello and welcome.

      Your situation echos that of my husband 8 years ago.

      I would suggest to wait until you determine paternity. As soon as you have proof that you are the father, it will be easier to fight for your paternal rights.

      I won't lie... it will be very difficult. Judges rarely order shared custody of a newborn, on the basis that they feel a child that young should not be away from its mother for longer than a few hours. This is what - unfortunately - happened to my husband, who was only able to see his son for a couple hours twice a week. If this happens to you, I suggest you get a timeline ordered stating at what point and by how much you can increase your custody time until you have equal or shared parenting. My husband regrets never having such a timeline ordered, because by the time he went to court for shared custody, his son's mother moved 2 hours away from us and the court deemed the distance too great for shared parenting, thus leaving my husband with the only feasible access in the eyes of the court: every-other-weekend. Once a minimal access time is set, it becomes status quo and it is very difficult to change. So if the judge doesn't grant you shared parenting from the start, please get a timeline ordered to show how your access will increase as the child grows and when it will become equal.

      I wish you all the very best. It is extremely difficult to be a single father like you, being separated from your child's mother since before the birth of your child. But, that doesn't mean you are going to fail. You will just have to work extra hard. And whatever happens, your child will love you regardless because you were always there fighting for your rights as a father.

      All the best to you.


      • #4
        I just want to say thank you very much for replying and offering such support. I do feel like I am being put in a corner and without rights. Right now all contact with the soon to be mother has been cut save for a few emails (not for the lack of trying on my part) which have been anything but vague and filled with animosity towards me. I have been nothing but supportive in all this yet I feel like she has no intentions of letting me be part of this pregnancy. So I am now faced with a very difficult situation of being able to find out if the baby is mine. I do not know how to go about this if I can't get a chance to communicate and get some real answers. How do I get some piece of mind and move in the right direction. Do I have to wait until the baby is born to find this out and then lose all chances to custody as by the time this reaches courts she will have developed a status quo with the baby and therefore have an unfair advantage and in the end have more rights than I to this child.

        You guys are right, I am very excited about this child, only problem is any feeling of joy, excitemend and dreams I ever had of being a father are now being suffocated with the realization that I may lose my child or for the sake of money.

        Thank you all.


        • #5
          UPDATE - Need Guidance

          Just to fill you guys in on my situation the birth of my son is 2 months away. After many attempts of trying to communicate and mend our relationship to a working status I have continually been met with harsh criticism and it is apparent she has no intentions of working with me. I have yet to have any sort of conversation in regards to baby names, co-parenting, what is happening for the day of birth, access rights and custody, etc. I have been given absolutely no information and she is doing her best to keep it that way so she has full control.

          I felt it necessary to consult a mediator as this behavior is creating a toxic environment and that is not how i want to welcome our son into this world. Not only that but up until now all efforts to be civil with her has failed and no progress is being made. This too was quickly quashed and she refuses to work anything out with me. What are my options now?

          Time is running out and I need answers not only for my peace of mind but also for the well-being of my son. He deserves to be met with anticipation by both parents and family.

          So I ask for your guidance in this matter. What must I do now to properly move forward and prepare for what most likely will come down to a unnecessary costly court battle. What will my rights be the minute he is born? Will I get to see him? Is Shared Custody presumed to be 50/50 immediately. This child is part of both of us and I just can't imagine only getting a few hours here and there with him. We all know that the first few months are undeniably the most crucial of bonding periods.

          Thank you.


          • #6
            You're doing the right thing.

            Document your offers to mediate and make several of them. Not every day or week, but every month. You don't want to be overbearing.

            If you are ignored and/or rebuffed, you go to court when the baby is born with an emergency motion for access and the first thing you tell the judge is how you tried and tried to civilly arrange access but she has not cooperated.

            And always, always, always remain civil.


            • #7
              There are a few things you need to do now to ensure your rights as a dad moving forward:

              1. find out when the baby is born. If she tells you, great. If she doesn't you need to ascertain that she has given birth on your own.

              2. Find out if you are listed as a parent on the birth certificate. This will be pretty easy as you will either be asked to sign it if you are listed as the dad, but won't be asked if she lists you as "father unknown".

              3. If you are listed as the dad and signed the certificate, you have both agreed you are the dad. If you end up as "father unknown" you will have to go to court for a motion to prove paternity. In that motion you will ask for two things a) a paternity test and b) the childs last name to be hyphonated alphabetically in accordance with provisions of the Vital Statistics Act (because she will most likely not include your name as the last name, and can't if she doesn't list you as a dad).

              3b. Last name - see above if she doesn't list you as dad or include your name. If she does list you as dad, but refuses to include your last name, here is what the Vital Statistics Act says:

              How child’s surname determined
              (3) A child’s surname shall be determined as follows:
              1. If both parents certify the child’s birth, they may agree to give the child either parent’s surname or former surname or a surname consisting of one surname or former surname of each parent, hyphenated or combined.
              2. If both parents certify the child’s birth but do not agree on the child’s surname, the child shall be given,
              i. the parents’ surname, if they have the same surname, or
              ii. a surname consisting of both parents’ surnames hyphenated or combined in alphabetical order, if they have different surnames.

              Here is a link to a recent case regarding name change:

              CanLII - 2008 CanLII 36912 (ON S.C.)

              You must ask for mediation (preferably) and failing that you end up in court. Getting shared custody of a newborn will be EXTREMELY hard, if not impossible if she is nursing. If you can work out an arrangement providing for steps to work towards 50/50, then you will be well off. But chances are she isn't going to want that.

              Be reasonable, but understand what you are looking for and be firm in those regards.

              Good luck.


              • #8
                UPDATE - Need Guidance

                Deleted double post
                Last edited by FirstTimeDad; 12-22-2010, 02:25 PM. Reason: Double Post


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