Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:45 AM
Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:17 AM
Your so-called "sperm donor" has certain potential parental rights simply because he is the children's father, and except under highly unusual circumstances those rights cannot be unilaterally or voluntarily terminated except in the case of a valid adoption process. Whether he wishes to pursue his rights or not is his call to make. All he has to do is establish his legal paternity (if he hasn't already) and obtain a formal custody and support order ("parenting plan") that specifies his right of reasonable visitation and his obligation to pay child support. He may have other custodial rights as well. By choosing to have children with him, you have effectively made him part of your and your kids' lives for the next 18 years.
By the same token, you are free to pursue child support or not at your option. Whether you do or don't will not have any bearing on his ability to establish and enforce his rights at any time in the future. Until there's a parenting plan in place, you are assumed to have sole legal and physical custody and you get to call the shots regarding where you live, and whether and under what circumstances Dad gets to visit the children.
In every state I know about, both parents' written consent is required to change the name of a minor child. If Dad is amenable to the name change, it's simple, straightforward and (relatively) cheap. Go to your county courthouse and ask the clerk for the forms and procedure for name change of a minor child. Fill 'em out, get Dad's consent, and file the forms in the appropriate court with the appropriate fee. When the judge signs off, you're good to go.
Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:34 AM
What makes you think you do not already have "complete rights" to your children? Is someone else claiming to have "rights" to them? You are the children's mother and you have physical custody of them. Is this man you are referring to listed as the father on the children's birth certificate? Did he acknowledge paternity at the hospital? If so, then he has rights as well. He has the right to reasonable access to the children; he has the right to make educational and medical decisions for the children. Essentially, he has the same rights as you do. However, in order to enforce those rights, he needs a court to determine that he is in fact the legal father of the children. I assume that since you never mentioned going to court, this never happened. So as far as the law is concerned, he currently has no enforceable rights. If he wants to visit with the children, you can say no. It would be up to him to start a custody and visitation action in court to enforce his rights. However, you can start the custody action now on your own and request sole custody of the children with no rights of visitation. You would have to notify him of the court case and give him a chance to appear and plead his case to the court. If he doesn't show up, you'd most likely get what you want. You can represent yourself, it does not require a lawyer to do this but it may take some time. This does not happen overnight.
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