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Old 02-17-2004, 11:35 AM   #1
3rdWheel
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Hi everyone...I bet you've heard this line before...I've got a complicated situation here, and I really have no idea what to do about it. My ex-girlfriend and I had been together for about two years, and during that time she cheated on me a couple times. After the last time it happened, she decided to stay with the other guy. I didn't hear from her for 5 months.

The other day, I got an e-mail from her telling me she was miserable, abused, and pregnant with this guy's child. I offered to get her out of there and help her find somewhere to go. Neither one of them had a job, but they were living together in an apartment paid for by this guy's grandmother. I picked her up while her boyfriend was at community service. (He's got something like 5 years of probation left)

This is my problem...I'm 20, and I was just getting ready to move out of my mom's house while I continue going to school. I'm thinking of getting back together with my ex, and helping her raise this child, because right now she has nowhere else to go, and I still care about her. I don't have a job that pays very well, but she doesn't have one at all. I'm afraid to see this baby's father get custody, because I've seen what he's done to my ex and it makes me sick. I can barely afford to support myself, much less a child, and I really don't know what to do or where to go. Part of me wants to say this isn't my responsibility, but I feel like I'm this baby's only hope of having an abuse-free childhood. Right now my ex is three months pregnant, and we're trying to find an apartment. We're also not having much luck.

I'd appreciate any advice you can give me here...legal, moral or otherwise. Can I be the legal father if the real one wants nothing to do with this? Do I have any way of seeing the baby if I get back together with my ex, help her with the baby, then she leaves me for the real father? Is there anywhere I can go for help with finances? Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Old 02-17-2004, 02:51 PM   #2
BUKWHEAT
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iv'e never thought of myself as the earl of wisdom,but i think i would tread litely in your situation considering your exgirlfriends track record concerning your relationship with her.i think i would help her out anyway i could and see if she sticks with it or goes back to the father.

god knows every child deserves two good parents no matter if their biological or not,and you definetly sound like a man with good intentions.as far as legal issues go,if the father abandons the child you can (along with the mother)petition the state for your adoption and his terminataion of parental rights.but,barring that you have no legal rights whatsoever to visitation or anything else.i know this for i married a single mother.when things went bad i tried to protect her and keep her with her two younger sisters but to no evail.the only possible option i had was child services and for the most part they suck...she would be removed and put into foster care.
i'm not tring to be pescimistic.i'm just suggesting you proceed with caution.i hope things go well for you whatever you decide.
and props for wanting to be the father of someone elses child.
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Old 02-17-2004, 04:01 PM   #3
My Daughter's Eyes
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Talk about complicated! First of all, I wish you all the luck and best wishes in the world...to all of you, no matter how any of it turns out.

Here are some legal bits and bobs I encountered. Keep in mind, this is based on Utah State Law, so you'll want to check on your own state's codes, but it would surprise me if they're not similar.

My daughter's father and I broke up when I was around 2 or 3 months pregnant. He claimed he still wanted to participate and help in her life, but stopped maintaining contact with me when I was 3 or 4 months pregnant.

I started doing some research. Based on Utah law, I couldn't do ANYthing about his paternal rights until she actually arrived. The theory is that she's not an actual person endowed with legal rights until she's delivered. Then, there were two things to consider...he could sign away his paternal rights, which the courts could still disagree with (single mom...secretary's income...he was career military...that's giving up a good source of income to ensure Bree didn't become dependant on the state), or I could wait for a 6 month time period and file for termination of his paternal rights due to 'abandonment'.

I wound up doing a combination of the two. Her father wants nothing to do with us, and frankly I don't want an inactive father in her life. The courts granted my petition on January 13th, and I can breathe easily that my daughter is ALL mine.

Lack of income. This was a concern for my petition. I was lucky that my parents were willing to go on court record as willing to support my daughter should I become unemployed, etc. If I had not had the statement of support, I'm not sure I would have won my petition. HOWEVER...my attorney indicated how favorably the courts look upon a "replacement". Petitioning the courts to terminate his rights and giving those rights (adoption!) to another man. We considered having my father adopt her, but thought that might wind up seriously messy later on should I marry and my husband want to adopt her, so chose to just try the simple petition for termination first...THEN go the route of my father adopting her should the simple petition fail.

If the father signs away his rights, or you are able to get them terminated by abandonment AND you choose to adopt this child, then if you and the mother break up, as the adoptive father, you WOULD have full rights, just as a birth father does in a typical divorce situation. Keep in mind, this also means you would have to pay child support, etc (if you were to marry and divorce, that is).

I hope this helps a little and isn't too confusing. Feel free to ask me anything about what I went through with my court petitions...I'm really very open about it.

Best of luck to you all....and especially to that precious child.

Mel
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:41 PM   #4
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hey,
i think you might get some use if you go to findlaw.com you can punch in your state and try to figure out some q's you have going here. i really think its great that you want to help out someone you really care for but think for yourself too! you need to be educated!!!!!!!!! YOU NEED TO. and if you want to support this child if she lets you only by adoption that will become legal so if she leaves you again then you have some cutody of this child. dont try to be the hero here though. know that you have to help yourself to help others too. you really seem that you have a strong head on your shoulders that can easily be misdirected. why move out of your mothers place? you arent ready if you take her in. doesnt she have family? you guys can live at your house w/ your mom or seprate and see eachother just as much. then you can save up money. if you rush it the q's that you are asking arent going to be solved as quickly or easily. im just saying you need to play this safe. EDUCATE YOURSELF SO YOU CAN PROVIDE. not only if this situation works out but any other that will come your way. good luck and to her CONGRATULATIONS. she really should sign on here and ask q's shes got. im sure she has tons. but go to that legal sight it should help you some! best wishes.
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Old 02-18-2004, 06:10 PM   #5
3rdWheel
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Thanks to all of you for your advice...it has really given me a lot to think about. First, I know I'd really like it if we could stay with my mom, but my brother has this social anxiety problem, and if we stay more than a few days he'll really start having problems. My dad really hasn't had much to do with me for the past few years, my ex's mom is living with someone that won't allow anyone to stay, and her dad would let us stay...but he's a little unpredictable when he starts drinking. Based on the advice I've been getting here, and from family, I think the best thing would be to help her get on her own feet while I find mine. Knowing that I can in fact have legal rights down the road, and maybe even be on the birth certificate really makes this easier for me to handle. I'll talk to her about this, and see what we can do. She does understand my concerns about the past, and she just asks that I give her time to repair her reputation. I'll post again to let everyone know how we'll handle this...hopefully my ex will start posting here too. Thank you all again for your help and understanding
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:31 PM   #6
Jakesmommy
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3rd wheel,
I went through a similar situation with my boyfriend. I bailed on him for my ex and went back to him months later with a baby that wasn't his! Like you he cared a lot and gave me a second chance. Sometimes it takes something like what has happened to the two of you to really open someone's eyes. I must say that my boyfriend has been there for me and suppported me and my son. I wouldn't dare hurt him again, I learned a very valuable lesson and I have a feeling your ex did to. We are so much happier and more thankful for each other because of all that has happened! My one suggestion is don't rush into things. Help her find her own job and home, even if it's assisted gov. housing for now. Make sure she files for child support! Show her and the baby unconditional love and give it time. I wouldn't live with her until both of you are sure that this is permanent, it wouldn't be good for you two or the child if it didn't work out in the end. You're making the right choice! Good LUck! Jakesmommy
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Old 02-20-2004, 11:08 PM   #7
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Tuff situtation you're ex has put you in....if you make the choice of going back with her you have put yourself in it as well. i'm not saying dump her and never talk to her again but be VERY careful of what you're getting into. babies are a tuff job.

it was also mentioned that you better make sure that she wants to be with because of you not because you are and easy solution to her huge problem. to be honest i would be a good friend to her and help her through but the only way she will be handle this is to face up to her problems and deal with them herself.

good luck in whatever you choose and try not to get hurt.

smvt
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