I recently broke it off with my fiancé who has now moved to another state and told me she is pregnant.
She has said I will never see my child because we aren’t married and don’t live near each other.
What rights do I have, and what is the honest outlook that I may get custody of the child when he/she is born?
While I am not licensed to practice law your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
Jurisdiction is more likely than not going to be in the child’s home state, which is defined by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCJEA) as the state in which a child lived with a parent for at least 6 months, or in the case of a child 6 months or younger, where that child lived from birth with a parent or person acting as a parent. As a result, it is likely jurisdiction will be in the state where your ex currently lives.
That being said, you have rights to this child and to have custody to some extent. How much is going to be dependent on the law dictating custody determinations in that state, but I can tell you that generally courts are looking to preserve the best interests of the child.
If you want substantial custodial time, you may have to move to the state your ex is located, as the courts generally want both parents involved in the child’s life regularly and it may be harder for you to say you want primary custody when you live so far away from mother.
Again, it is largely going to be based on the specific facts of your case and both parents’ ability to be a good parent.
You should immediately begin trying to have a co-parenting relationship while the opposing party is pregnant. It is not too early to co-parent and some courts favor the parent sometimes who is more capable of co-parenting and maintaining a healthy communication with the other parent.
Become involved in the pregnancy and even suggest counseling via electronic means, if necessary, to assist you both in co-parenting and communicating in a healthy manner, even though your relationship did not work out. Ask for regular updates in the pregnancy and doctor’s appointments. Ask if you can be at the hospital for the birth.
Start being a part of the child’s life now, so you can go to court with some history of your involvement and dedication to being involved.
It is not a bad idea to consult with an attorney now to perhaps even start writing letters to the mother about your intentions and desires to be a consistent and prominent part of this child’s life. The mother cannot prevent this, even though she may think she can.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.