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#1 brandiroseizaak

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:45 AM

I have two kids with a guy that i have never married. He has not been a proper father nor has he ever been financially responsible for either child. He has a drug addiction problem that i tried to help him fight for years. I finally decided to call it quits because my kids are getting older and I dont want him hindering their life. He is willing to sign his over to me because he knows that he cannot handle responsibility of any kind. I am a student and single mother of two. I cannot afford a lawyer. I do all that I can to take care of my kids and get myself through school. What would be the best route for me to take in gaining complete rights to my children? Or just assuring that the "sperm donor" has no rights and can't interfere with our happy home? Also i would like their last names to be changed to mine.

#2 Ted_from_Texas

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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.



#3 legaleagle1975

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:34 AM

brandiroseizaak said...


He is willing to sign his over to me because he knows that he cannot handle responsibility of any kind. 


Sign his what over to you?  Savings account?  I assume you mean terminating his parental rights?  Parental rights are not like a car lease; you can't just sign them over to another person and be free of the responsibility.  The children have rights too.  One of these rights is to be financially supported by two parents.  The courts will not just let someone walk away from their obligations as a parent because they are not up to the task.  A parent may volunteer to terminate their legal status as the parent of a child if there is another adult willing to assume that responsibility (step-parent or couple wishing to adopt a child that is in the state's foster care system).  Courts will terminate a parent's legal rights involuntarily if they are determined to be abusive and found to pose a threat the the child's safety and well-being. 
brandiroseizaak said...


What would be the best route for me to take in gaining complete rights to my children? Or just assuring that the "sperm donor" has no rights and can't interfere with our happy home?



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. 


brandiroseizaak said...


Also i would like their last names to be changed to mine.


If you start the custody action yourself, you can ask the court to order that the children's name be changed to match yours.  With this order from the court, you can apply for a change in the childrens' birth certificate from the state agency that deals with vital records.





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