If you are a father who has just ended a long-term relationship with the mother of your child, you might still want some kind of custody. This can be a challenge if you were never married to the child's mother, but there are still steps you can take to earn custody. These tips may help.
Prove You're the Father
Even if your name is on your child's birth certificate, the first thing you'll need to do is to prove to the presiding judge that you are the biological father. This can be done relatively easily by submitting yourself to a paternity test. You might feel somewhat insulted to have to prove paternity, but without doing so, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to proceed. Once the test is completed, you can then move on to other matters.
Write in a Diary
You may think that diaries are only for teenage girls, but the truth is that a journal or diary of your time with your child can be helpful to the judge when he or she is figuring out custodial matters. Do you take your child shopping for clothing? Do you take them to sports practice? Do you take them to the dentist? Keep a record of the things that you do with your child throughout the month. This proves that you are an integral part of the child's life and that you should have the right to see them regularly, if not most of the time.
Keep track of different receipts too. It can be good for your case to show the judge how much money you're spending to care for your child and ensure that they have everything they need.
Avoid Relying on Informal Agreements
The mother of your child may currently seem reasonable enough about your rights to visitation and co-parenting, but she may change her mind or want to make adjustments without regard to your feelings later. If you want to be sure that your rights are protected, it is essential to have a formal, legal agreement in place that can't be changed according to personal whims. Therefore, be certain that the judge handles all custodial matters instead of assuming the child's mother will do the right thing.
When you have used the information above, you will have put yourself in a better position to earn custody of your child. Consult a family lawyer such as John Alegria Attorney at Law, and try to find someone with experience representing fathers so that you can be sure you're doing everything you can.