Getting custody in complex situations

Archive of Ask A Lawyer answers provided before April of 2005. Many of these answers can also be found in the current Ask A Lawyer section.

Getting custody in complex situations

Unread postby dadsdivorce » Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:39 am

This is a unusual case. I have a son that will be ten in a few months, I was never married to his mother, in fact we only spent about a month together. I tried to have access to my son from the time he was born, the only access I had to him was at her convenience (bring diapers and beer and you can see him) I was paying child support at the time also.

During this time his mother got arrested for 1st degree felony drugs, my child was present, I went to court to get my son and was told that Minnesota had released him to her parents and they went back to South Dakota with him, Minnesota washed their hands of it, saying I had to go through South Dakota now.

I had a attorney in South Dakota and he tried to locate my son. Her parents denied they had him, we tried to find him and could not. My attorney petitioned the court to have child support stopped because she was in jail and did not have custody and no one knew where he was, they stopped the child support. I have since tried to find him and could not until lately, years later, I am married now and living in TN. Recently my ex girlfriend must have gotten out of jail and I now have a lead to where my son may be. I have tried to investigate and what I have found is that she gave him to her ex husband to raise, and he has been running between about 3 different states with him, in fact when she got out of jail she could not get him from him. It is still unclear if she has him or not.

This being the only lead I have had in years I am seeking custody. I have an attorney in SD but I am in TN and it seems to be going slow....My question, do I possibly have a chance of getting custody of my son, even though I have been denied contact with him since he was 3?
dadsdivorce
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Unread postby dadsdivorce » Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:39 am

I cannot answer your question specifically to the laws of the State of South Dakota, as I am not licensed in that State. However, I would say that you have a good claim for custody of your child based upon the information given. You will need to file a Petition for Determination of Father-Child Relationship (commonly called a paternity case). You can establish yourself as the biological father through genetic testing. If the ex-husband has already been established as the father, the case become more difficult, but likely not impossible.
dadsdivorce
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