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child conceived without relationship, want to claim parental rights

our son (age 18) has recently been advised he is the father of a child (not yet born), the baby was conceived on a one night stand and neither parent knows each other (mother is 22).

the baby is due in october and we have informed the mother that we would like a paternity test (she has agreed when the child is born); in the meantime all decsion making remains with the mother. We have informed her that while we are not happy about the way this child was concieved we would seek 50% custody of child and assume equal parenting as we feel strongly the best interests of the baby in this situation would be for the child to be loved and cared for by both families and enable the child to have a decent and meaningful relationship with both parents regardless of their lack of r/ship.

The mother is stating she does not think this is reasonable and that she cannot see that she would want to give her baby to a stranger on a regular basis; also she has named the child, posted both the ultrasound image and childs name on facebook.

We are interested to know if you have any suggestions about how we assist our son to be genuinely involved in important deceionmaking (such as the childs name) and proactive in parenting his child.
shamrock said
  …also she has named the child, posted both the ultrasound image and childs name on facebook.
You have said that the child is not yet born.  Until the birth there are no laws preventing the mother from referring to the baby as whatever name she wants to.  I'm not really sure I understand your issue/point about facebook nor why this has been raised. 

shamrock said
  We are interested to know if you have any suggestions about how we assist our son to be genuinely involved in important deceionmaking (such as the childs name) and proactive in parenting his child.
I would suggest that in the not to distant future that the father writes (or has a solicitor write) a letter to the mother stating that he would like to be notified of the baby's birth, be involved in decisions regarding the baby's name and in the care arrangements of the child (subject to the results of the parentage test).  Perhaps even something about wanting copies of ultrasounds etc?

"Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions". Dag Hammarskjold
I needed help with my case and couldn't afford a lawyer and found these guys invaluable  srl-resources.org
Shamrock,
              this is very similar scenario to recent postings from the mother who I believe says they are 22, a nurse and had a one night stand with an 18 year and who's parents wanted 50/50. Here's a link to that thread:

Need Parenting advice asap


Briefly there are no parental rights, rather the child has rights to know and be cared for by both parents and also a right to have relationships with the extended family. There are basically two courses of action. One course is to agree upon how the child's rights should be catered for, the other is to seek that decision via other parties e.g. through legal practitioners.

The former, although less common often due various factors, could be the most sensible assuming that the involved parties can consider what is best for the child rather than stick to what they want for themselves. This would probably mean a differentiated plan that caters for the needs of the child throughout the child's life, likely especially considerate of the needs of the younger child (e.g. likely initially a regime of short but frequent contact, changing to longer and less frequent periods of contact over time).

I'd suggest having a read of the similar topic, as per the posted link and also having a good look around the site and you should get an idea of various aspects of the situation.

teenage dad

thank you, I have read those postings. There are always two side to every story and we are only concerned with supporting our son to become a decent parent. I will not go into details here except to say that we have discussed with the mother our son's intention to have an active and positive role in his childs life from the beginning. As previously stated he is still at school and so would struggle to do so unassisted and it is a measure of our concept of family that we will support and assist him to parent this child. We have stressed to the mother the importance of them commencing discussions about how that can occur and the importance of each of them respecting the other person's rights to be involved.

undoubtable the father having an active role from birth (in these circumstances) is unusual but not impossible and the outcome for the child is strong positive relationships with all family memebers.

We really want this child to grow up knowing that he is loved and treasured by all concerned rather than the result of a drunken careless act between 2 people that don't know or care about each other; and that his dad doesn't care about him which is what is currently been said.

The details of how our son was told he was to be a father (and some subsequent actions taken by the mother) do not bode well for the child unless they can be laid to one side and the child in the middle of this becomes the common ground. We hope that as both parents mature and that once they meet this child they will want what is right for their child, we don't accept that an occassional father is in the interets of any child nor do we accept that the mother is the best qualified person to determine the role of the father.

We are also concerned that the perception of the mother at present is that the father having a large role in the childs life is a disruption to the plans she has made regarding her child; that he is a stranger and that she wouldn't be comfortable for him to have access other than how she has decided; our son is very determined that he will not be a stranger to his child (as are we).

Apart from all of that we are excited about the new addition to our family(if not the circumstances).
Hello I have been in that situation and I did write a response to you but it got chewed up by the machine.

In summary these cases are the hardest to deal with as it is where the theory and practise of what is known scientifically about what is in the best interests of children run aground on the rock of superstition and the idolisation of motherhood. When two parties have been married for a number of years and then separate then it is easy for the court to say the father should have contact. When the parties have not been married and its a new born child, it is harder for the court when a mother says she doesn't want that man to be near her baby and to effectively as it was described to me "rip the baby from the mothers arms". I had a mixture of Judges and magistrates, males were the most traditional, women were the least and more practical. I had a female magistrate make orders for there to be a hearing 2 weeks after the birth so orders could be made for me to see our child with that recommendation on file and the subsequent male magistrate refuse to make contact orders because he said it was too soon and most fathers don't see their children after birth because they work. (still trying to work that one out and delayed it 6 weeks

In summary

1) Try to work it out amicably, if you can sort the matter out yourselves far better and don't be afraid to use mediation services etc

2) Expect third party hostility, there is a belief amongst some of the feminist community that women should be allowed to have babies without male involvement (apart from the obvious male initial male participation) as a lifestyle choice and shouldn't be made to hand over their baby to a male.

3) Look after yourself and your son, get help and assistance. There are excellent parent groups out there especially for your son. Its a mixture of emotions at the best of times but stay away from radical groups or bitter groups. The system is unfair but it is the only game in town and there are both men and women working together to solve the problems. Be positive and the ones seeking a resolution and being fair and keep records of this.

4) Protect yourself and your son and especially avoid the "lets just the two of us have a private chat to discuss this" approach. The standard firing shot in this is a AVO/VRO application. If it comes, there is little you can do but at least you can avoid the flow on complications if the magistrate decides to play it safe and with a baby involved, the inclination is to play it very safe. Start keeping a diary for your self and get your son to do the same. Write down at the time the gist of any conversations

5) Start planning and prepare, Have your son attend a parenting course and work around the normal issues with respect to a child. Where is the baby going to sleep, what equipment do you have, frequency of contact (literature suggests for young children that short frequent contact is best), scheduling around breast feeding (it is acceptable for women to express milk to go back to work but the court will not order a woman to produce expressed milk for contact). If you go in there with a well though out plan that is positive and respectful and covers all foreseeable contingencies, you should achieve the best.

If the other party is refusing to cooperate or makes noises about leaving the state, it is possible to bring a matter in front of the family court before the child is born despite advice to the contrary or rather it has been done. I achieved this in my case when the mother threatened to leave the state and not put my name on the birth certificate. The law is remarkably bipolar as to whether a unborn child is actually a child or a person covered by the law. The court doesnt like this as if taken to the obvious conclusion it leaves open when the family court does actually start to have juristicition and what is in the best interests of the child when it is unborn (should the family court have the power to make an order that a pregnant mother doesnt drink or smoke for example). The orders I obtained were carefully restricted in scope, information regarding the progress of the pregnancy, to be informed as to when the child was born (ignored by the mother, found out 3 days later) etc. It at least gave me a head start on the normal lead time it takes to get contact ordered as I saw my beautiful daughter 6 weeks after birht and not 6 months if I had of filed the material immediately after her birth.

If you need this detail contact me and I don't know how or whether my case will translate over to your jurisdiction

Good luck and best wishes .
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