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Custody Stipulations Mother's Rights


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#1 happyhippo99

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:35 AM

I live in California and am a new mother of a 2 month old baby. I was never married to the father and we no longer live together. There is currently no court order however he is indicating that he wants to file for a court ordered custody agreement. The only thing I've ever wanted from him in regards to the baby is to inform me of what is going on with the baby and who will be around the child when I'm not there, I have also offered this information to him. My question is, is this something that can be stipulated in a custody order, for us to inform each other of who is around the child and basic information regarding the child's well being? I have told him that until he can be forthright with requested information I would prefer that he visit the baby in my home for as long as he likes. I'm also wondering what kind of custody agreement the court may order and what my rights are as a mother until this does go to court. Also, will they require him to pay child support as I have not asked him for any thus far as he has been paying all of the baby's expenses since I am still on disability. I would like to stipulate that the baby lives with me however sees the father as much as posible without overnight visits until a certain age as I am solely breastfeeding. Is this a reasonable, legal request? Thank you in advance for your response and I apologize for any unclear wording.

#2 pg1067

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 03:15 AM

happyhippo99 said...

The only thing I've ever wanted from him in regards to the baby is to inform me of what is going on with the baby and who will be around the child when I'm not there, I have also offered this information to him. My question is, is this something that can be stipulated in a custody order, for us to inform each other of who is around the child and basic information regarding the child's well being?

You can agree to just about anything.  The court may or may not adopt it.  A requirement that each of you inform the other about "what is going on with the baby" is completely vague and, as a result, could not be enforced.  A requirement that each of you inform the other "who will be [or were] around the child" when the child is in each of your custody would be, in my opinion, unreasonable.  If you both agreed to that, a court probably would sign off on it.  However, if he were to object, I doubt any court would order it over his objection.  If there's a particular person or group of persons whom you believe pose a threat to your child's safety or health, then the better approach would be to seek an order expressly prohibiting contact with these persons.  Of course, you'd need some pretty compelling evidence that these are bad people.  "Basic information regarding the child's well being" is also too vague to enforce.  Court orders need to be specific in order to be enforceable.


happyhippo99 said...

I have told him that until he can be forthright with requested information I would prefer that he visit the baby in my home for as long as he likes.

That's fine until he takes the matter court.


happyhippo99 said...

I'm also wondering what kind of custody agreement the court may order and what my rights are as a mother until this does go to court.

I'm not really sure what you're asking here.  It's very vague.


happyhippo99 said...

Also, will they require him to pay child support as I have not asked him for any thus far as he has been paying all of the baby's expenses since I am still on disability.

I've never heard of a CA court making a custody and visitation order without also making an order regarding child support.


happyhippo99 said...

I would like to stipulate that the baby lives with me however sees the father as much as posible without overnight visits until a certain age as I am solely breastfeeding. Is this a reasonable, legal request?

It's not necessarily unreasonable, but your desire to breastfeed doesn't trump the father's rights.  That's not to say some courts wouldn't grant the request, but you can always express milk for him to feed the baby while it's in his custody.



#3 happyhippo99

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 03:41 AM

Thank you for your response. As far as letting me know who is around the baby, he will not agree. The reason he is threatening to take me to court is because I want to know who he will be having the baby around. In regards to the custody agreement question, I would like to know my chances of getting physical custody and him having full visitation rights. I feel it's better for the child that there is one home. What kind of visitation can he obtain? Right now he sees her almost everyday and I'd like for that to continue, is this something we decide? As of now I am expressing milk as I will be going back to work shortly however she is also breastfeeding in order to help continue my milk supply. I am in no way trying to be unreasonable to him I just want to make sure the baby is able to breastfeed for as long as possible. He is also threatening me with money as he has quite a bit more than I do saved up. How will this affect the courts decision if it goes that far? And if we can come to some sort of agreement is this something that can be settled by mediating? Thank you again and I do apologize for the vague questions, I am very new to the parenting and custody issues.

#4 Ted_from_Texas

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 03:44 AM

What "pg1067" says, with the following caveat:   Reasonable visitation, which is the parent's right, doesn't necessarily translate into overnight visits.   I couldn't say about California in particular, but many if not most states allow (but do not require) limiting overnight visits during the first year of an infant's life, particularly if the mother is breastfeeding.  Expressing breastmilk is certainly a viable option for a mother who wishes to do so to facilitate visitation, but I've never heard a judge order a mother to do it over her objection.

#5 motherneedinganswers5

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 04:17 AM

Fight for your breast feeding rights! It's so important to your baby and will help your baby so much in the future.  Don't give up on it for the job, for the father, or for anyone.  Always do what's best for that baby. 


Not my business but I breastfed all of mine and wouldn't take one day back for all the money in the world.    



#6 pg1067

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:05 AM

happyhippo99 said...

The reason he is threatening to take me to court is because I want to know who he will be having the baby around.

The fact is that getting court orders regarding custody, visitation, and support is, in almost every case, in everyone's best interests.  That way no one has to worry about one or the other of you changing your mind about how often the kid goes to dad's place and things like that.  In essence, that's what's happening in your case.  You've worked things out fine so far, but you're now seeking to impose a requirement that the father finds unreasonable.  With proper court orders in place, everyone's rights and obligations are clear.


happyhippo99 said...

In regards to the custody agreement question, I would like to know my chances of getting physical custody and him having full visitation rights.

In the abstract, your chances of getting primary physical custody are 50/50.  In reality, courts tend to favor the mother when it comes to infants.  As far as "full visitation rights," nothing you have written suggests that his visitation would be limited in any way.


happyhippo99 said...

I feel it's better for the child that there is one home.

Well...that's all well and good to say, but you chose to have a child with a man to whom you were not married and whom you apparently have chosen not to marry or remain together with (either that or he chose not to marry you or remain with you).  Therefore, the ideal situation that you speak of simply cannot exist.


happyhippo99 said...

What kind of visitation can he obtain? Right now he sees her almost everyday and I'd like for that to continue, is this something we decide?

With children who are not in school, the options are virtually limitless (pretty much restricted only by the parents' work schedules), and most courts will sign off on whatever you can agree.  Obviously, when the child reaches school age, the options become somewhat more limited.  You can either plan ahead for that or seek a modification when the child reaches school age.


happyhippo99 said...

As of now I am expressing milk as I will be going back to work shortly however she is also breastfeeding in order to help continue my milk supply. I am in no way trying to be unreasonable to him I just want to make sure the baby is able to breastfeed for as long as possible.

I'm not suggesting that you're being unreasonable, and I know breastfeeding is a "hot button" issue for some folks.  Just keep in mind that your desire in this regard don't necessarily control what will happen.


happyhippo99 said...

He is also threatening me with money as he has quite a bit more than I do saved up. How will this affect the courts decision if it goes that far?

I'm not sure what you're getting at here.  Obviously, him having money means that he can afford a more expensive lawyer, which may (or may not) mean a better lawyer.  If you're asking whether him having substantial financial resources will influence the court regarding custody and/or visitation, the answer is probably not.  Him having more money, by itself, doesn't mean that him having custody or greater than "normal" visitation is in the child's best interests.  What it does mean is that he can afford to pay more in child support.


happyhippo99 said...

And if we can come to some sort of agreement is this something that can be settled by mediating?

The point of mediation is to reach an agreement.  If you are unable to reach an agreement without mediating, you can mediate in an attempt to reach an agreement.



#7 pg1067

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 06:10 AM

motherneedinganswers5 said...


Fight for your breast feeding rights! It's so important to your baby and will help your baby so much in the future.  Don't give up on it for the job, for the father, or for anyone.  Always do what's best for that baby. 


Not my business but I breastfed all of mine and wouldn't take one day back for all the money in the world.


This is what I meant about this being a hot button issue (primarily for women).  I can tell you that I have read stuff written by women who practically view women who don't breastfeed as criminal.  Whatever one's opinion on the subject, you should be aware that there is no such thing as "breast feeding rights" (and I'm obviously not talking about having the right to breastfeed in public or at work, etc.).  As far as I can discern, you have a pretty decent relationship with your child's father, and fostering that relationship and the child's relationship with both parents is certainly no less important than having the child take breast milk directly from the source as opposed to a bottle.  That it might make you, as a mother, feel all warm and fuzzy is legally irrelevant.  Lest there be any uncertainty, what I'm basically saying is that there are a lot of factors that need to be balanced.

#8 happyhippo99

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:07 AM

Thank you very much for your answers on this. I am mainly concerned in the money area that he will try and use some big fancy lawyer against me in spite of me and not because it's best for the baby. I want there to be an agreement made without having to go to court but if that does not happen what chances do I have if I have no attorney representation? As of right now her visits with him are based around her feeding schedule. That of course will change as her eating changes. Right now she's still feeding every few hours but as she gets bigger those will spread out and I'm hoping to have her do obernights with her in a few months. My concern is that he is not taking her schedule into consideration with his requests and I'm trying to accommodate as much as the baby allows. Is this something that would be considered legally? At least until
She's a bit older then we can extend her visits until, eventually, she's with him half of the time until school age. He doesn't seem to agree with this scenario, I don't see it as being entirely unreasonable as we need to make sure he has a routine and stability. I just don't want her to be passed back and forth with no consideration for the stability she needs. Is this a type of arrangement that would be considered appropriate for the child? (increasing visits as she ages.)


#9 happyhippo99

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:11 AM

Also, if he did get 50/50 custody would there sti be a child support order?

#10 susan1049

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:01 AM

I am currently living with my 9 yr old son's dad. we have never been married. I have custody. our son was born in ohio, now we reside in PA. I am afraid to ask him to leave as he is abusive (verbally) to me and my son. I am off work right now due to an emotional breakdown, and I don't know how to get him out. My son is also cutting himself. Do I need an attorney--the house and everything I have is in my name only--I was the main support financially until now. I think he may be trying to file for custody to keep me under his control. I need help. I don't know what kind of an attorney to even call.

#11 pg1067

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 04:00 AM

happyhippo99 said...

I want there to be an agreement made without having to go to court but if that does not happen what chances do I have if I have no attorney representation?

First, you should be aware that agreements regarding custody, visitation, and support that are not incorporated into court orders are not enforceable.  In other words, if you simply agree between yourselves that he'll pay $2k a month in support and he doesn't pay as agreed, you can't go to court and force him to pay any "past due" amounts.  As for not having representation, your chances depend on what the issues are.  As I noted previously, if you want some sort of accounting of every person whom dad allows around the baby, you're not going to get that even with the best lawyer.  On the other hand, not having a lawyer means you will be at a disadvantage in terms of knowledge of the relevant law.  This is particularly true in areas of procedure.  Keep in mind that, if the father has significant assets and income, you can request that the court order him to pay for your lawyer.


happyhippo99 said...

As of right now her visits with him are based around her feeding schedule. That of course will change as her eating changes. Right now she's still feeding every few hours but as she gets bigger those will spread out and I'm hoping to have her do obernights with her in a few months. My concern is that he is not taking her schedule into consideration with his requests and I'm trying to accommodate as much as the baby allows. Is this something that would be considered legally?

Yes, it would be considered -- especially with such a young child.  But it can also be considered that schedules can be modified, and, as I said previously, a court may tell you that one or two feedings can be done by bottle to accommodate the child becoming comfortable sleeping at dad's place.


happyhippo99 said...

Is this a type of arrangement that would be considered appropriate for the child? (increasing visits as she ages.)

It could be.  I'm not exactly sure what you're suggesting or what dad wants that's different.  Again, with a child as young as yours almost anything is technically possible.



#12 pg1067

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 04:03 AM

happyhippo99 said...

Also, if he did get 50/50 custody would there sti be a child support order?

Support is based on three factors:  the number of children, the relative amounts of time each child spends in each parent's custody, and each parent's net income.  In a situation where there is only one child and a 50/50 time split, child support will depend solely on the parents' relative incomes.  If dad makes a lot more than you, then he'll still be paying support to you.






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