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    samanthat81286's Avatar
    samanthat81286 Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Sep 13, 2008, 03:32 PM
    Relocated without custody, but had an agreement with his father
    Let me start by saying that my situation is fairly unique. I had my oldest son when I was 14 years old, and his father was 16. I took full responsibility, and raised my son who is now 7. My sons father and I never married, and he does pay child support, but we never discussed custody, Due to the fact I had my son 6 nights a week and I never obligated him to come see his son. When he turned 4 I started making my ex pay child support, after he requested a paternity test. To continue on... I am married now, and have another son who is 2. My husband is in the navy and we were relocated from Pennsylvania where my ex lives to Virginia Beach last April. My ex threatened to call the cops if I left, but after a month of negotiating we decided my son would stay there for the remainder of the school year at which point I would drive the 9 hours to pick him up. When we came to this agreement he had me sign a paper that stated I would come back next year in 2009. I signed the paper in good faith that he would see a 9 hour drive isn't that far, and I would never stop him from coming to see his son, I even offered for him and his fiancÚ to come down for a week and stay with me. Since April I have visited PA 4 times and he refuses to spend the money to come here to visit. My question is... Niether of us have custody, do you think that I will have a problem getting custody, and if that paper I signed has any significance? I do not think its in his best interest to be away from his mother who has had him since the day he was born. And for me to move away from my husband and leave my 2 yr old son without his father. Any advice would be appreciated.
    IndustryMommy's Avatar
    IndustryMommy Posts: 26, Reputation: 7
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    #2

    Sep 13, 2008, 04:08 PM
    I would file for custody in Virginia, since you have demonstrated responsibility and are in a stable relationship with stable income, housing, health care etc. It's pretty likely that you will be awarded custody. In the proceedings make it effective for the date you agreed to, but also add a visitation agreement that states the visits will be alternated, meaning he comes there, you go here (I'm in PA too so that's why I said here). That way you are not breaching the agreement, but still have a more fair set of standards. Also a bit of PA custody FYI, if you never married him, he cannot call the cops on you for moving because you are the custodial parent by default. You could have taken him no questions asked.
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    stinawords Posts: 2,071, Reputation: 150
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    #3

    Sep 13, 2008, 07:09 PM
    Where is he now? Because if he is with his father right now his dad can go to court for custody and has a good chace of getting it. If you wanted custody you should have brought him with you or gotten a custody order before you left.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #4

    Sep 13, 2008, 08:08 PM
    His threats were empty since there was no court ordered visitation. What I don't understand is how you can get a child support order without establishing custody.

    Stin's question is important. Who is the child with now?
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    samanthat81286 Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Sep 13, 2008, 08:19 PM
    Ive had my son since the end of last school year and made multiple visits back to PA, but I won't leave my son there with him on account of his attitude toward the whole situation.
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    stinawords Posts: 2,071, Reputation: 150
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    #6

    Sep 13, 2008, 09:02 PM
    You will need to go to court to file for custody. The judge will order visitation at that time too. Then the father will know when and for how long he will have his kid but the judge will not make the father come to you and only visit at your house or in your town unless you can prove he is a threat to the child.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #7

    Sep 14, 2008, 05:31 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by samanthat81286
    Ive had my son since the end of last school year and made multiple visits back to PA, but i wont leave my son there with him on account of his attitude toward the whole situation.
    OK, good. First you need to check your paperwork from the support hearings. Make sure there wasn't a custody order. But I don't see how there wouldn't bbe. If there wan't one then Monday morning you get down to the Family court and find out how to file for full physical custody.
    IndustryMommy's Avatar
    IndustryMommy Posts: 26, Reputation: 7
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    #8

    Sep 14, 2008, 05:37 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem
    OK, good. First you need to check your paperwork from the support hearings. Make sure there wasn't a custody order. But I don't see how there wouldn't bbe. If there wan't one then Monday morning you get down to the Family court and find out how to file for full physical custody.

    In Pennsylvania, an unwed mother is the parent that has legal custody by default. Custody is not brought up in support hearings unless specifically requested by one of the parents, the same for visitation. Typically up here, support and custody are two separate hearings because the first one (support) takes presidence to ensure that the child's basic needs are being met, after that has been established the father or mother can bring up the issue of custody and/or visitation. So being from PA and having custody of both of my boys, I would not be surprised if OP is correct in her assertion that only support was addressed.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #9

    Sep 14, 2008, 05:49 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by IndustryMommy
    In Pennsylvania, an unwed mother is the parent that has legal custody by default.
    Thanks for the clarification. In most places that would be the case. Usually, when the mom files for support the fasther tries to get at least partial custody. I'm still surprised it wasn't mentioned at all, if only the judge saying that, by default the mom has custody. Support is paid to the custodial parent, therefore something needs to be said or implied about who that is.
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    IndustryMommy Posts: 26, Reputation: 7
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    #10

    Sep 14, 2008, 09:10 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem
    Thanks for the clarification. In most places that would be the case. usually, when the mom files for support the fasther tries to get at least partial custody. I'm still surprised it wasn't mentioned at all, if only the judge saying that, by default the mom has custody. Support is paid to the custodial parent, therefore something needs to be said or implied about who that is.

    Hahaha yeah I understand what you mean, Pennsylvania is often backwards or omitting something. It's the joys of a commonwealth as opposed to a state. We're weird up here :D

    It's a strange process, it's like the father does not exist if they are not married. Kind of Scarlet letter-ish, and then if he wants rights he has to fill out a certificate to legitimize the child and so on and so forth
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #11

    Sep 14, 2008, 09:30 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by IndustryMommy
    Hahaha yeah I understand what you mean, Pennsylvania is often backwards or omitting something. It's the joys of a commonwealth as opposed to a state. We're weird up here :D

    it's a strange process, it's like the father does not exist if they are not married. Kind of Scarlet letter-ish, and then if he wants rights he has to fill out a certificate to legitimize the child and so on and so forth


    I don't know that that's only in PA - the unmarried father is not recognized unless he makes a positive move to BE recognized, including applying in Court.

    The mantra is that fathers have NO rights... until they are adjudicated the father.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,697, Reputation: 1438
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    #12

    Sep 14, 2008, 04:36 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by IndustryMommy
    I would file for custody in Virgina, since you have demonstrated responsibility and are in a stable relationship with stable income, housing, health care etc. It's pretty likely that you will be awarded custody. In the proceedings make it effective for the date you agreed to, but also add a visitation agreement that states the visits will be alternated, meaning he comes there, you go here (I'm in PA too so that's why I said here). That way you are not breaching the agreement, but still have a more fair set of standards. Also a bit of PA custody FYI, if you never married him, he cannot call the cops on you for moving because you are the custodial parent by default. You could have taken him no questions asked.
    This answer is incorrect and needs to be revisited. OP stated that she left PA but according to PA law they still have jurisdiction at least for now. Also when she recognized him as the " Father " of the child she in effect gave him rights he previously didn't have. If there is no custody agreement other then what they have written between themselves then that's the only agreement in standing. My info is based upon current PA laws as I understand it. Since one or more of the parents is still in PA then they retain jurisdiction until they give it away or until a certain amount of time passes.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,697, Reputation: 1438
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    #13

    Sep 14, 2008, 04:42 PM
    [QUOTE=samanthat81286] To continue on... I am married now, and have another son who is 2. My husband is in the navy and we were relocated from Pennsylvania where my ex lives to Virginia Beach last April. My ex threatened to call the cops if I left, but after a month of negotiating we decided my son would stay there for the remainder of the school year at which point I would drive the 9 hours to pick him up. When we came to this agreement he had me sign a paper that stated I would come back next year in 2009. I signed the paper in good faith that he would see a 9 hour drive isn't that far, and I would never stop him from coming to see his son, I even offered for him and his fiancÚ to come down for a week and stay with me. Since April I have visited PA 4 times and he refuses to spend the money to come here to visit. 2 yr old son without his father.[ end quote ]

    In most cases when one parent moves away from the other then the parent that moved bears the expense of child transportation. Its unreasonable to ask him to drive 9 hours when you're the one that moved. For a young child 9 hours can be a very long time. If you take that before a judge you need to keep that in mind. Who knows where your next move will be. The father ( or NCP ) shouldn't carry the extra burden if they weren't the ones involved in the move away.
    samanthat81286's Avatar
    samanthat81286 Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #14

    Sep 14, 2008, 04:54 PM
    One thing everyone needs to understand, it was only after he started paying child support after my son turned four that even saw him. Before that, he saw him one day a month at the most. Im sorry, but I don't think its right that his best defense is and I quote " i pay for him, and i want to see him". And I don't ask him to come down to see his son, I've been the one driving to PA, but I offered that if he would like to visit anytime he may. My only concern is for my son. Granted his father is a cop, but for the 2 months he remained there to finish the school year, my son gained 15lbs, had no bedtime, and rarely stayed with his father. Im more than happy to drive to PA or fly depending on where we move to, to accomidate him, but my first concern is keeping my family together.
    stinawords's Avatar
    stinawords Posts: 2,071, Reputation: 150
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    #15

    Sep 14, 2008, 05:23 PM
    Well then first things first as said you have to go to court to establish custody and visitation. Then the father will know when and how long he can have him. If he chooses not to use that time that's his choice but then he and you will know.
    IndustryMommy's Avatar
    IndustryMommy Posts: 26, Reputation: 7
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    #16

    Sep 15, 2008, 06:49 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee
    I don't know that that's only in PA - the unmarried father is not recognized unless he makes a positive move to BE recognized, including applying in Court.

    The mantra is that fathers have NO rights ... until they are adjudicated the father.

    Oh cool, my hubby is in GA and it was different there and Flordia (his original home pre Army) so I figured it was a commonwealth thing. Good to know we aren't the only broken system

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