Question about father's Rights

My brother is expecting a baby with his ex-girlfriend. Long story on why she is the "ex," but to summarize...they had dated for two years and it seemed as if  she was madly in love with him. At 10 weeks pregnant, she started having nightmares that he was cheating and now she has taken those feelings and run with them. I 99.9% assure you, there has been no cheating. She is now due in about 2 months and as requested, we have given her space to "heal." Heal from what? her nightmares??? My brother has asked her several times to please come home as he is just devastated. She says she wants to have a co-parenting relationship with him but her actions and words indicate otherwise. 

After asking that we all sit as a family to discuss a parenting plan, she refused saying she was not ready. My brother sort of accepted this, but was trying to communicate with her, very peacefully. He asked her about vaccinations and circumcision--which they had originally planned to do bare minimum and not circumcise. He offered some information/videos about these topics and she answered him in a hostile manner stating "he will be fully vaccinated and circumcised. I don't need any videos to tell me about these things!"

Last night she wrote our family an email stating that none of us OR MY BROTHER will be able to see the baby until after she is home and has recuperated (3-4 weeks). She said she'll send shes on vacation or something!  She said after the 3-4 weeks it will be for an hour at a time, if she and the baby are awake and feeling well. 

SERIOUSLY? Can she do this?

My brother is a very good person, very responsible, owns his own house, has a very stable well paying career. He has no criminal record and the mother of his grown daughter can attest to his character and their co-parenting relationship. My bro is over 50, not that it matters! 

He has a consultation for a lawyer set up--but does anyone have any words for me??

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RE: Question about father's Rights ()

You ask can she do this?  She already did, she can do whatever she wants.  I think the question you are asking is legally what can she do?  Until there is a custody order both parents, (married or not, criminal or not, 16 or 80) are equally entitled to have custody.  Technically after the baby is born your brother could legally take the child and claim to be the custodial parent until the court makes a ruling on the custody order.

I have had two close friends who were in very similar situations.  I wound up helping both of them.

  If the mother is going to be uncooperative the only recourse is a court order.  If your brother waits or does nothing the mother could file for sole physical and legal custody.  If this happens your brother will be at a disadvantage.  Hate to say it but the way or legal system works with custody, is the one who files first and gets an order has the upper hand.  If she's going to be uncooperative it would be best for your brother to obtain a custody order specify everything including vaccinations and listing who has custody when listing the specific days and times.  Your brother should also include a where she can live clause so she can't move out of state, (and file in another state for custody) or to make it difficult for him to visit.

Should he or she violate the specifics in the custody order the courts will give preference to the cooperating parent.  Prepare your brother to enforce the custody order and documenting any and all violations by reporting it to the police.  It's police reports (not family members testifying) which have the greatest influence with the courts.

Your brother should request 50-50 custody as soon as the baby is born.

The other thing that's going to happen is even if he doesn't' have any custody he is still financially responsible if he's listed on the birth certificate.  The courts will back the mother on this one.  If he petitions the court of 50-50 custody it should greatly reduce his court imposed financial obligation.  The day the baby is born he will be required to pay child support for the next 18 years.

It's good your brother is meeting with a lawyer.  Between now and the day the baby is born the lawyer should be drafting a custody order with specifics about custody, visitation etc.  Ideally he will want to get the custody mater heard by the courts as soon as the baby is born.  (Can't do anything before.)

I know all of this sucks, but you asked.

The soon to be mother is already stalling. making excuses and trying to prevent your brother from seeing his child.  With both of my friends they tried to get along with the mother without a court order and it was a disaster.  The mothers were nice until the babies were born and then they considered them all theirs.  The court battles that resulted were long an horrible.  One of the fathers was prevented from seeing his child for five months due to no court order.

An outstanding attorney is essential.  There are many attorneys who handle child custody cases, (it's easy money).  The ones that do a poor job just make things worse between the parents and with the courts.  I can't stress how important is to get a court order with specifics in it.

I wish your brother the best.

RE: Question about father's Rights ()

That is so unfortunate. The first few weeks of life are crucial for parental bonding. I'm sorry your brother is going through this. 

Make sure he signs a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. When a child is born in the hospital, if mom doesn't put the fathers name on the birth certificate it is harder to get joint custody later. If mom does put his name on AND he has the declaration of paternity (basically a paper that says he claims responsibility for the child) it makes the process easier. (page 11 to 13).  

And as the anonymous person who posted before me said, get a good attorney. 

Wishing you and your brother all the best!

RE: Question about father's Rights ()

This is maybe crazy and totally off-base but my first thought in reading your post was that after 10 weeks she realized the baby could be another guy's because SHE was cheating. Again—possibly totally crazy of me, but it might explain the abruptness of her cutting him off.  

In any case, your brother is doing the right thing. Lawyer up immediately. He needs to establish paternity so that she can't exclude him from visitation and parenting decisions.

RE: Question about father's Rights ()

The first reply is spot on. Your brother needs to see a lawyer asap! I wouldn't wait to file until the baby is born though. I'd get in front of a judge now to make sure that there are orders requiring her to notify him when she goes into labor, to tell him where she's having the baby, to have input on the name, vaccinations, and circumcision, etc. There should also be visitation orders ready to go. Under no circumstances should any of you heed her demand to stay away for 3-4 weeks. She has no right to demand that. 

Keep in mind though that your brother won't get a 50/50 schedule with a newborn. If she's breastfeeding the baby will need more frequent access to food. I've seen lots of women breastfeed FOREVER in order to prevent the child from spending too much time with dad. There may need to be a court order about that also (e.g., after a year she can continue to breastfeed but it can't impact visitation and she'll need to pump when necessary). Typically dad's visitation time increases as kids get older.

I'm sorry to say this but your family is in for a very difficult battle. Don't believe that this woman will ever put the child's best interest first. She's already shown that she's insecure and mean. So many women, including plenty who post on BPN, think that they own their babies and that no one else has any right to hold them, spend time with them, etc. These are bad people but grossly common. It's in the child's best interest to have good relationships with both parents and extended family. Luckily courts agree with this. From what I've seen, expect this woman to constantly badmouth your entire family (you should ask for a court order preventing this), come up with a zillion excuses for why visitation can't happen (she has a runny nose, she doesn't want to see you, she has a birthday party, etc.), being completely unwilling to change the visitation schedule to accomodate your brother's needs (while announcing at the last second that he can't have his scheduled visitation because she wants to do something with the child). This is why the first responder suggested getting a custody schedule that includes specific dates and times for visitation so that he has something to show the cops when she tries to prevent him from exercising his rights. Too many orders say something like every other weekend and every other holiday. But if there aren't dates in the order, the cops have no idea whose weekend it should be and she'll definitely lie to them about it. He has to enforce his court ordered visitation every single time, regardless of whether the baby is sick or says that she doesn't want to go. If he's 100% consistent about enforcing his rights, she may eventually stop playing games because she never wins.

I used to be a child custody attorney (not in CA) and my brother reproduced with a woman who acts just like you describe (plus she's an heiress so she had unlimited funds for attorneys' fees) so I have a lot of experience dealing with horrible, selfish mothers who do nothing but damage to their kids. But my brother won his battle (although he has to take her back to court every year to increase his visitation, his ex's family loves to torture him by making him waste money on attorneys) and has a very close relationship with his daughter. I highly encourage your brother to do the same.

RE: Question about father's Rights ()

Hi there,  I'm honestly a little astounded at this has become "your" issue. The mom and your brother need to work it out between themselves. If she's reaching out to you, simply say that. 

Boththe mom and father need legal advice, it sounds like. Given that they'd agreed on certain things in the past, they may be able to do with mediation, avoiding the cost and trauma of court. (in alameda County, they'll be required to see a mediator before anything progresses in the court).  Also, remember that people are allowed to change their minds (sounds like mom educated herself about vaccinations - both science and the courts back her there)  

So, I'd wish your brother, the baby, and the mom the best, and butt the heck out!  Whenever your brother has his visits w baby, there's no reason why you couldn't see the baby at that time. Just an observation, but I didn't note any words of concern for the baby in your note; mediator or attorney, the baby's needs are ways put first. Both mom and father have the same rights and responsibilities whether or not they were ever married. Sounds like, based on how you describe his situation, your brother may be in line for paying a not insignificant amount of child support. 

Good luck to the baby, mom, and father of the baby. It's up to them, not you, to work stuff out in baby's best interest. 

RE: Question about father's Rights ()

Wow.  Just wow.  Something is catastrophically wrong with this picture.  To my mind I would be concerned about a psychotic break of some kind, which would mean all concerned need professional help to sort it all out.  In lieu of that, or maybe because of that, the first thing to jump into my mind is that she cheated and there may be a question as to paternity.  If it was my brother, my sisterly advice would be to get a paternity test ASAP.  The weird behavior could explain her trying to hide or evade the truth, and possibly having guilt about it...  or just not wanting to face consequences.  In any event the baby's safety and wellbeing is the number one concern.  Such a sad scenario.  I am very sorry for all of you.