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  #1  
Old 11-01-2016, 09:17 AM
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Default I Know This Has Been Said Over and Over Again But....

I know this has been talked about over and over again on other threads but I thought maybe others can read this and chime in and clarify...

Very recently my husband and I began going through the adoption process for DH to adopt my son (who he has been raising since he was a baby). I have a court order for child support from the birth dad but nothing in regards to custody or visitation or termination of birth dad's parental rights.

We paid a hefty fee to meet with one of the (allegedly) best family lawyers in MN and we were told (I'm paraphrasing here) that our state automatically grants/favors birth mothers sole physical custody until the court establishes otherwise. Now I'm sure I'm off on the wording but the message was the same. I asked over and over again to clarify cause this was a big deal to me!

Meaning that, even if birth dad would not consent to my husband adopting our son and we lost our case, and birth dad's rights were not terminated - I have no legal obligation to allow birth dad to see my son. Not until birth dad takes me to court and an order is established regarding visitation/custody.

Maybe this is a little different than what has been discussed here on the forum, as far as always allowing a parent to access their child unless a court order says otherwise.. but it sounds to me that legally, birth moms may have rights (depending on your state) to restrict the birth dad from accessing the child without a court order. Maybe I'm totally wrong here. Maybe there are other factors the lawyer didn't mention. Just how the two pieces seem to fit together to me.

I'm not saying it's necessarily right. I'll see if the lawyer we ended up hiring can give input on this.


On another note..
I totally understand providers not wanting to get in the middle. It can be ugly and crazy. I don't blame you.

For me though, it made a world of a difference having a provider who was willing to call me if birth dad were to have shown up. Birth dad was unpredictable (on methamphetamine), had a criminal history, and hadn't seen my son in almost a year by the time he started care. Legally speaking, his rights were not terminated. It's very difficult to terminate parental rights without having a suitable parent willing to take their place, so I was not in a very good position to get that ball rolling at that time. It ended up never being an issue. But if he had ever shown up to get my son, it could have been bad. Court orders take time, money, and are not easy. Our legal system is not perfect. (I could get really deep here - you may say well, not my fault, shoulda known better who to procreate with. Yes, I should have. I was young and naive. He wasn't on meth at the time but he wasn't a good person either. But my son's safety shouldn't be jeopardized b/c of a past mistake I made. I can't predict what other people may do.)

I want to say she may have even agreed to not release my son to birth dad, which would line up with what the lawyer told me a few months ago.

Before everyone jumps on her for doing something illegal, I'm not 100% sure she said that... but I do seem to recall a convo with her and her bf in which we were discussing these laws in MN and how they do favor birth moms right off the bat...

Plus, the preschool my son is at immediately put birth dad on a 'do not release' list when we told them we were initiating a case for adoption and we weren't sure how birth dad may react. This was without a court order establishing any custody, termination of rights, visitation, etc.

I respect a provider's decision to stay out of things and acknowledge there are very good reasons for it. But, if you are a provider willing to do what mine did, it makes a huge difference to some parents!

Anways, whew! Sorry for such a long post! Just some food for thought
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:25 AM
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I am of the understanding that the CHILD has a legal right to both parents. Visitation is not about parents rights, it is about the childs rights.

Definitely talk to the lawyer, again.

Your provider would have been covered the first time as his (dads) identity had not been established with her, yet. As far as I know that only works once though.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:38 AM
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I am of the understanding that the CHILD has a legal right to both parents. Visitation is not about parents rights, it is about the childs rights.
That's where I think it gets muddy. Parental rights establish the parent-child relationship. If you lose your parental rights, then you are no longer the legal parent/guardian of that child.

But of course, the child can reach out to the birth parent when they are older I suppose.

I actually did a research paper arguing the ways in which our legal system is flawed by favoring parental rights instead of focusing on what the child's rights should be. This is why reunification is almost always the #1 goal of foster care.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:39 AM
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I am of the understanding that the CHILD has a legal right to both parents. Visitation is not about parents rights, it is about the childs rights.

Definitely talk to the lawyer, again.

Your provider would have been covered the first time as his (dads) identity had not been established with her, yet. As far as I know that only works once though.
Yes. I had a dcb with a father in prison. Mom had sole custody. Dad wasn't on ANY information. He came to pick up dcb one day. I refused to release him. He was a stranger to me. He was a stranger to dcb. He wasn't on any pick up list. He came back with paperwork and the police the following day but dcm had kept him home until she could work it out in the court. I legally would have HAD to release him to the father.

Until rights are terminated (or there is a court order on file), regardless of who has custody, I HAVE to release a child to his/her parent if asked to.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:43 AM
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Until rights are terminated (or there is a court order on file), regardless of who has custody, I HAVE to release a child to his/her parent if asked to.
See that's where I'm wondering if there are different laws at play.

Like a birth mom may have sole physical custody (w/o any court orders) and deny a birth dad visits, but regardless, a provider must still release the child to the birth dad.

It seems like they go against each other but eh, wouldn't surprise me.
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:21 AM
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See that's where I'm wondering if there are different laws at play.

Like a birth mom may have sole physical custody (w/o any court orders) and deny a birth dad visits, but regardless, a provider must still release the child to the birth dad.

It seems like they go against each other but eh, wouldn't surprise me.
I understand it different.

If the birth mom does not have a court order saying so, she does not have sole custody. She may have literal "physical" custody, but not legal sole custody.

She has no legal right to withhold the child from the other parent. Her only power lies in the father believing she does. If he picks up the child from daycare, he can also withhold the child while filing for a temporary hearing.

If called, the police could give the child to which parent was acting the most stable at the time of the call. It is the most rational approach. They don't want to be involved in family court matters.

Without papers, both parents are of equal legal standing.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
She has no legal right to withhold the child from the other parent.
That's the exact opposite of what the family lawyer said. I was told I have no legal obligation to allow any visits.

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Without papers, both parents are of equal legal standing.
Based on what I was told, that's not true. At least, not for my state.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
I understand it different.

If the birth mom does not have a court order saying so, she does not have sole custody. She may have literal "physical" custody, but not legal sole custody.

She has no legal right to withhold the child from the other parent. Her only power lies in the father believing she does. If he picks up the child from daycare, he can also withhold the child while filing for a temporary hearing.

If called, the police could give the child to which parent was acting the most stable at the time of the call. It is the most rational approach. They don't want to be involved in family court matters.

Without papers, both parents are of equal legal standing.
This is what I was told by the police as well. It HAS to be a court order.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:20 AM
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This is what I was told by the police as well. It HAS to be a court order.
I'll see if I can get more info on this for sure. It's just so odd b/c I asked several times to make sure I understood what she was saying. I'm pretty sure she didn't say "you have sole physical custody" but she definitely was saying I had no legal obligation to allow visits. She's from a very well known firm and has been working in this field for twenty some years. Another lawyer said her firm was the best in the business.

So weird
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:44 AM
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"Visitation Rights as a Father

Parents have a fundamental right to raise and love their own children. Even if you don't get primary custody, you’re still entitled to visit your child on a regular basis. But there are some instances where a court will restrict parental rights. For example, if there's a history of domestic violence, neglect, or abuse, a judge will order supervised visitation with the child. In extreme cases of abuse or neglect, a judge might find that cutting off all contact and terminating parental rights would be in the child's best interests.

You and the child’s mother can reach your own visitation agreement, or you can leave it up to the court to decide. Either way, a judge will turn the parenting schedule into a custody and visitation order, which you and the child’s other parent must follow. For example, the child’s mother can’t prevent your visits or give you less time than required under the order. Your obligation as a father is to follow the terms of any custody order, and take advantage of whatever visitation or custody you’re entitled to. If you encounter serious problems with visitation or the child’s mother prevents visits, you can ask the court to intervene. A parent who refuses to abide by a custody order can be held in contempt of court and can face fines or even jail time."

http://family-law.lawyers.com/patern...child-too.html
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:53 AM
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"Legal custody gives a parent authority to make decisions about things that affect the child's welfare, including education, medical care, and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements. Mothers don’t have any extra entitlement to custody of their children: As a dad, you're on equal legal footing."

Sorry, left out the first part. You know, the point I was making and all. I thought it copied and pasted.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Max View Post
I'll see if I can get more info on this for sure. It's just so odd b/c I asked several times to make sure I understood what she was saying. I'm pretty sure she didn't say "you have sole physical custody" but she definitely was saying I had no legal obligation to allow visits. She's from a very well known firm and has been working in this field for twenty some years. Another lawyer said her firm was the best in the business.

So weird
I think your lawyer is correct. Visitation at the discretion of a parent versus court ordered visitation are very different things. He will need to go through the courts. Once a judge rules on it, you won't have a choice, but until then, I would keep him on the "do not release" list.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:13 PM
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Well I live in Georgia and used to work as a paralegal. I also assist people, by word of mouth only, with preparing their legal petitions so that they can file them pro se.

Our law here is quite clear in so far as children born out of wedlock are concerned. Absent an Order legitimating the child, the mother has sole legal and physical custody of that child.Even if he signs the birth certificate and pays child support he still has zero rights.

I have enrolled several children in this situation and will allow the father to pick up a child if he is on the list. However, if the mother removes the privilege, I will NOT release. I will call the law and had to do this very recently when things got ugly between the parents of one of my dcbs.

However, if the parents are married, even if they are in the process of separation; absent a restraining order that specifically forbids contact I can not legally prevent either parent from picking up their child.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:19 PM
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Max I just checked and the law in Mn is quite similar to Georgia's. If you were not married to the child's father then:

Mn statute 257.541 states: "The biological mother of a child born to a mother who was not married to the child's father when the child was born and was not married to the child's father when the child was conceived has sole custody of the child until paternity has been established under sections 257.51 to 257.74, or until custody is determined in a separate proceeding under section 518.156."

Therefore just as in Georgia a father can be ordered to pay child support to said child and still have zero right of access to that child.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:28 PM
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If you hired or consulted with an attorney keep in mind they will tell you what you want to hear....business is business

As a MN provider I can tell you that the ONLY way I can legally deny a biological parent access to their child NO MATTER what the other parent says/wishes is if I have legal paperwork that specifically says I can not allow that person to have access to the child.

IF your son's biological father is listed on his birth certificate, I believe he DOES have rights as the child's LEGAL father. You DO NOT have sole custody UNLESS you have officially filed for it in the courts. Otherwise you are simply the parent that has physically raised your son but not having contact with your son or having any court ordered visitation does NOT automatically exclude the biological father from contact or from exercising his rights to pursue contact/visits etc.

IF the biological father chooses to give up his parental rights (which IME, isn't usually allowed....too many fathers doing so to avoid child support etc) then and only then can your son be adopted by your husband. I do believe in some cases the bio parent can give up rights IF there is another parent (your husband) wanting to take over. But normally, fathers can't just give up their rights as that usually leaves the state as acting "father" and having to financially support said child. kwim?

Anyways, from my understanding MN is NOT a state that favors mothers....as a matter of fact I read not too long ago that MN is one of 10 state's that heavily support fathers and their rights.

I have 2 DCK's right now where the family had similar situations as yours...one now has 50/50 custody (the 4 yr old DCK never had any contact with the father at all until then) and the other family, the father actually got custody with the mom having visitation rights and no, she isn't on drugs or unable to support herself or her other children...dad either had a better lawyer or really does have the means to offer the child a more stable home. The father has 70% primary physical custody and the mother has 30%.... up until court, the child lived 100% with the mother and only visited the father.

As for why your preschool was able to put your son's bio father on the do not pick up list I don't know...but if it came down to him showing up there with a birth certificate, the preschool would be in trouble for denying him his child. I know alot of daycare provider's that will say they won't let a child go but it doesn't mean they are doing so legally.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:31 PM
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Max I just checked and the law in Mn is quite similar to Georgia's. If you were not married to the child's father then:

Mn statute 257.541 states: "The biological mother of a child born to a mother who was not married to the child's father when the child was born and was not married to the child's father when the child was conceived has sole custody of the child until paternity has been established under sections 257.51 to 257.74, or until custody is determined in a separate proceeding under section 518.156."

Therefore just as in Georgia a father can be ordered to pay child support to said child and still have zero right of access to that child.
That has not been my experience here at all...

A declaration of parentage is what usually defines who is and who isn't a legal parent.

Whether mom has legal custody of not.... If a parent I've never met shows up here with the police, I can't deny that parent access to their child.
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:37 PM
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257.02 SURRENDER OF PARENTAL RIGHTS.
No person other than the parents or relatives may assume the permanent care and custody of a child under 14 years of age unless authorized so to do by an order or decree of court. However, if a parent of a child who is being cared for by a relative dies, or if the parent is not or cannot fulfill parental duties with respect to the child, the relative may bring a petition under section 260C.141. Except in proceedings for adoption or by a consent decree entered under section 257C.07, no parent may assign or otherwise transfer to another parental rights or duties with respect to the permanent care and custody of a child under 14 years of age. Any such transfer shall be void.

257.025 CUSTODY DISPUTES.
(a) In any custody or parenting time proceeding involving unmarried parents, the court shall consider and evaluate all relevant factors in section 518.17, subdivision 1, to determine the best interests of the child.
(b) The fact that the parents of the child are not or were never married to each other shall not be determinative of the custody of the child.
(c) A person may seek custody of a child by filing a petition or motion pursuant to section 518.156.

Here is some other really good info on establishing who the legal parent is/isn't:
https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/c...-parentage.jsp
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Old 11-01-2016, 12:46 PM
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Do you have a recognition of parentage form signed? I ask this because I am in a similar situation but not to this extreme. I am considered to have sole physical custody, which means my ds residence is considered mine but I also have the right to child support automatically without any tests or waiting. This makes his father legally responsible for him and also gives him the right to file for parenting time. He is not granted physical custody but again can file for it. This form basically expedites the process for both of us.

In order for your husband to gain adoption rights, the bio father has to terminate his parental rights. This would still only give your husband legal custody another hearing would have to be made for physical custody.

When you are not married to the father physical custody is automatically granted to the mother. If you are divorced it becomes automatic joint custody unless there are reasons against it.

With that said, I do not have the right to withhold contact with my son from his father. This is not in the best interests of the child, MN is a state that leans this way and upholds that the child has the right to have a relationship with both parents as long as it is a healthy one.

That's my .02.
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Old 11-01-2016, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cassiesue View Post
Absent an Order legitimating the child, the mother has sole legal and physical custody of that child.Even if he signs the birth certificate and pays child support he still has zero rights.

I have enrolled several children in this situation and will allow the father to pick up a child if he is on the list. However, if the mother removes the privilege, I will NOT release. I will call the law and had to do this very recently when things got ugly between the parents of one of my dcbs.

However, if the parents are married, even if they are in the process of separation; absent a restraining order that specifically forbids contact I can not legally prevent either parent from picking up their child.
I think this is exactly what she was getting at, and the big difference to note being whether the child was born out of wedlock.

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IF the biological father chooses to give up his parental rights (which IME, isn't usually allowed....too many fathers doing so to avoid child support etc) then and only then can your son be adopted by your husband. I do believe in some cases the bio parent can give up rights IF there is another parent (your husband) wanting to take over. But normally, fathers can't just give up their rights as that usually leaves the state as acting "father" and having to financially support said child. kwim?
You're exactly right in this, the state doesn't want to act as 'father' which is why terminations can be very hard, unless a step-parent is willing to step in.

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Do you have a recognition of parentage form signed? I ask this because I am in a similar situation but not to this extreme. I am considered to have sole physical custody, which means my ds residence is considered mine but I also have the right to child support automatically without any tests or waiting. This makes his father legally responsible for him and also gives him the right to file for parenting time. He is not granted physical custody but again can file for it. This form basically expedites the process for both of us.
Yes I have an RoP and told the lawyer this. Everything you're saying lines up with what the lawyers have told us, and makes sense as to why I was able to get a court order for child support.

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In order for your husband to gain adoption rights, the bio father has to terminate his parental rights. This would still only give your husband legal custody another hearing would have to be made for physical custody.
We thought that would be the case, even had multiple lawyers told us we would have to undertake 2 cases... One to terminate bio dad's rights and a second for the adoption itself.

BUT, with a little bit of luck and a crafty lawyer, not necessarily.. Also depends on the judge. The lawyer we ended up hiring tried a new approach and long story short, both cases turned into one! Much less $$ and time!!

We went to court last month and bio dad was a no-show (expected when you've had a warrant out for 3 years ) so we ended up getting everything we petitioned for. It was great news for us No additional hearings.
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:22 PM
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257.025 CUSTODY DISPUTES.
(a) In any custody or parenting time proceeding involving unmarried parents, the court shall consider and evaluate all relevant factors in section 518.17, subdivision 1, to determine the best interests of the child.
(b) The fact that the parents of the child are not or were never married to each other shall not be determinative of the custody of the child.
(c) A person may seek custody of a child by filing a petition or motion pursuant to section 518.156.

Here is some other really good info on establishing who the legal parent is/isn't:
https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/c...-parentage.jsp
That makes sense for deciding custody but I wonder if it doesn't necessarily apply to this situation (mother legally being required to grant visits w/o an order).

I'll check that link out as soon as I can and forward this question to our lawyer. The one we ended up hiring wasn't the same lawyer I was referring to in the original post.
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:26 PM
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If he was a no show in court then that is exactly how the court handles it. They assume that a no show, not to mention a notice is given with a request for a response to action, is the acceptance of the termination. At this point, even if bio dad files a petition, the court very rarely reverses their decision.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:20 AM
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They assume that a no show, not to mention a notice is given with a request for a response to action, is the acceptance of the termination. At this point, even if bio dad files a petition, the court very rarely reverses their decision.
Yep

It was really nice to have our lawyer petition it as one case instead of two!
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:35 AM
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The email to our lawyer is off! I specifically asked:In the situation of an unwed birth mother in MN, without any court orders explicitly indicating custody/visitation/protection/etc., does a daycare provider have to release the child to the bio dad?

And then: Does this change if bio dad is on the birth cert or signs an ROP?

I also found the following:
257.541
Subdivision 1.Mother's right to custody. The biological mother of a child born to a mother who was not married to the child's father when the child was born and was not married to the child's father when the child was conceived has sole custody of the child until paternity has been established under sections 257.51 to 257.74, or until custody is determined in a separate proceeding under section 518.156.


257.51 to 257.74 is the Parentage Act. It defines 'parent child relationship' and states this relationship may exist regardless of the marital status of the parents.

257.54 says how this relationship is established and includes:
(b) the biological father may be established under sections 257.51 to 257.74 or 257.75

257.75 covers an ROP and includes:
Subd. 3.Effect of recognition.

(c) The recognition is:
(1) a basis for bringing an action for the following:
(i) to award temporary custody or parenting time pursuant to section 518.131;
(ii) to award permanent custody or parenting time to either parent;
(iii) establishing a child support obligation which may include up to the two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action;
(iv) ordering a contribution by a parent under section 256.87;
(v) ordering a contribution to the reasonable expenses of the mother's pregnancy and confinement, as provided under section 257.66, subdivision 3; or
(vi) ordering reimbursement for the costs of blood or genetic testing, as provided under section 257.69, subdivision 2;
(2) determinative for all other purposes related to the existence of the parent and child relationship; and
(3) entitled to full faith and credit in other jurisdictions.


I c/p what I thought were the important parts but after reading through the statutes, to me, it appears that unwed birth moms maintain sole custody and an ROP allows for the birth dad to pursue visits if they wish. But none of this automatically grants birth dads any visiting rights right off the bat.

The ROP and birth certificate are tools to establish a parent child relationship but establishing that relationship, does not automatically establish visiting or custody rights for birth fathers.
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Old 11-02-2016, 08:42 AM
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Here is some other really good info on establishing who the legal parent is/isn't:
https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/c...-parentage.jsp
I checked that link out. It verifies that an ROP establishes parentage, but I still think it leaves it open that the birth father does not automatically have custody or visiting rights.

I see it as: an ROP establishes parentage, which is a critical/necessary tool when a parent wants to pursue rights, but an ROP does not, in itself, automatically grant those rights.
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:53 PM
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I just heard back from our lawyer, he said:

To answer your question, an unwed mother does have sole legal and physical custody. The unwed father has no rights until a court grants them to him. He can sign an ROP, but all that does is give him the right to petition for visits or custody. Rights don’t spring biology. So you can—and should--deny a father the right to take a child in your care, unless you have written consent from custodial parent. It’s best to have written statements from unwed mothers stating who they authorize to pick up their child. If a father has no custody rights, the mother can still grant visits at her own discretion.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:39 PM
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I just heard back from our lawyer, he said:

To answer your question, an unwed mother does have sole legal and physical custody. The unwed father has no rights until a court grants them to him. He can sign an ROP, but all that does is give him the right to petition for visits or custody. Rights don’t spring biology. So you can—and should--deny a father the right to take a child in your care, unless you have written consent from custodial parent. It’s best to have written statements from unwed mothers stating who they authorize to pick up their child. If a father has no custody rights, the mother can still grant visits at her own discretion.


The ONLY way I would deny a father access to his child is IF I have paperwork from the courts saying I can.

I would never deny a father access to his child based solely on what the unwed mother writes down on a piece of paper.
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:04 PM
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The ONLY way I would deny a father access to his child is IF I have paperwork from the courts saying I can.

I would never deny a father access to his child based solely on what the unwed mother writes down on a piece of paper.
If he is on the birth certificate, he is the father.

Is there a reason we are just denying these fathers the right to see their children? I find most custody issues with this situation just done out of pure spite, it only hurts the child.

If there IS a reason to stop the father from seeing the child, it needs to be court documented (even police protection order!)
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:17 PM
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Obviously states differ, but Utah law says we cannot withold a child from a parent unless we have specific court documents stating clearly that they cannot have the child.

It is considered kidnapping to stop a parent from taking their own child. Providers are on thin ice if they decide to side with a parent and deny the other access just because they want to.

I make it very clear to single parents that unless I have paperwork to the contrary, I will not stop the other parent from picking up at any time.
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:22 AM
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The ONLY way I would deny a father access to his child is IF I have paperwork from the courts saying I can.

I would never deny a father access to his child based solely on what the unwed mother writes down on a piece of paper.
The statement that 'you should deny pickup from the father without written consent from unwed mother' sounds more like legal advice, not necessarily a law. But I would imagine if a DCP released a child to the father against the custodial mother's permission, that DCP could possibly be in trouble because technically the unwed father doesn't have any custodial or visitation rights.

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Originally Posted by daycarediva View Post
If he is on the birth certificate, he is the father.

Is there a reason we are just denying these fathers the right to see their children? I find most custody issues with this situation just done out of pure spite, it only hurts the child.

If there IS a reason to stop the father from seeing the child, it needs to be court documented (even police protection order!)
The father being on a birth cert or ROP doesn't grant him legal rights to custody. At least here in MN. He may be the father but I'm just speaking from a legal perspective.

Sure, some mothers will do it out of spite and for no good reason but sometimes it's for the child's safety.

In my case, I can tell you for certain my child wouldn't have been safe with birth dad - and I didn't have no where near enough concrete evidence for a protection order. Nor did I have $20,000 to drop on a lawyer (yes, that's what we were told ballpark to expect to pay).

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Obviously states differ, but Utah law says we cannot withold a child from a parent unless we have specific court documents stating clearly that they cannot have the child.

It is considered kidnapping to stop a parent from taking their own child. Providers are on thin ice if they decide to side with a parent and deny the other access just because they want to.

I make it very clear to single parents that unless I have paperwork to the contrary, I will not stop the other parent from picking up at any time.
That makes sense if that's what your state laws say. I'm just relaying what MN law says
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Old 11-18-2016, 05:31 AM
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The statement that 'you should deny pickup from the father without written consent from unwed mother' sounds more like legal advice, not necessarily a law. But I would imagine if a DCP released a child to the father against the custodial mother's permission, that DCP could possibly be in trouble because technically the unwed father doesn't have any custodial or visitation rights.



The father being on a birth cert or ROP doesn't grant him legal rights to custody. At least here in MN. He may be the father but I'm just speaking from a legal perspective.

Sure, some mothers will do it out of spite and for no good reason but sometimes it's for the child's safety.

In my case, I can tell you for certain my child wouldn't have been safe with birth dad - and I didn't have no where near enough concrete evidence for a protection order. Nor did I have $20,000 to drop on a lawyer (yes, that's what we were told ballpark to expect to pay).



That makes sense if that's what your state laws say. I'm just relaying what MN law says

That is not what MN law says. It's what YOUR lawyer is saying. It is not MN law/regulations for child care providers

Nope, the provider would be in trouble for NOT allowing the father to pick up.

The ONLY way I can deny a father (custodial or not) access to his child is if I have COURT PAPERS saying I can't let the child go.

A written statement from the unwed mother will NOT protect me nor does it give me the right to deny the father.

If the unwed mother does not want the father having access, then she needs to go to court and get the proper paperwork.

That is MN FAMILY CHILD CARE LAW (Rule 2) which I am legally bound to follow.

http://tomcopelandblog.com/how-to-re...s-with-parents

Last edited by Blackcat31; 11-18-2016 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:00 AM
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That is not what MN law says. It's what YOUR lawyer is saying. It is not MN law/regulations for child care providers

Nope, the provider would be in trouble for NOT allowing the father to pick up.

The ONLY way I can deny a father (custodial or not) access to his child is if I have COURT PAPERS saying I can't let the child go.

A written statement from the unwed mother will NOT protect me nor does it give me the right to deny the father.

If the unwed mother does not want the father having access, then she needs to go to court and get the proper paperwork.

That is MN FAMILY CHILD CARE LAW (Rule 2) which I am legally bound to follow.

http://tomcopelandblog.com/how-to-re...s-with-parents
I think it is what MN law says. Yes, it is also coming from my lawyer, but from what I read of the statutes, he is reaffirming what they say. He's been practicing family law (adoptions, custody, foster care, etc.) for 25 years, was Attorney of the Year a few years ago, and has significant experience with the Minnesota Supreme Court. I mention those things because he isn't just another family lawyer... he's very reputable and this is his area of expertise.

The link to Tom's blog says:

Q: “This happened to me this morning. A single mother who never been married to the father tells me do not let her father pick her up. What do I do?”

A: I assume you know who the father is. The answer can vary depending on your state. In Minnesota the mother has all the rights to the child if the parents were never married. Unless you know your state law, I would honor the wishes of the mother and not let the father pick up the child. If the father objects, ask the father to produce something in writing from a court that says he can pick up. If he tries to argue about this and insists on taking the child, call 911.

Q: “What if you don’t know the father and he has been gone for years, no court orders, never married?”

A: Take reasonable steps to prevent him from taking the child. Call the mother. If he takes the child, call 911.


All the other Q & As seem to refer to married couples, which is totally different for fathers and custody.

"If the father objects, ask the father to produce something in writing from a court that says he can pick up." <- a birth cert wouldn't qualify.
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:10 AM
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I think you are talking about parental custody as it effects YOU....a parent trying to keep the other from having access.....for whatever reasons...

But I don't care about how it effects parents....

I ONLY care about what I am legally allowed to do.

Q: “What if a mother never listed a father on the paperwork because they are not together?”

A: Unless you have a copy of a court order that restricts the rights of the father, the father still has rights to his child, even if he is not living with the mother.


Q: “If a parent is not on a pick up list do they have to prove they are the parent before I would release the child?”

A: If you know the parent is the parent, and you don’t have a court document that says the parent has lost the rights to the child, then they can pick up the child, regardless of whether their name is on the pick up list.


As a licensed child care provider I am LEGALLY required to allow a parent access to their child UNLESS I have COURT documents stating otherwise. A written statement by the mother (unwed or otherwise) is NOT enough to protect MY liability.

The ONLY way I would ever deny a parent (of ANY child) access is if I have court documents saying I must do so.

I think the point we are both trying to make is overlapped between what you feel as a parent and what is the law according to child care.

I don't care what the law is for parents disputing custody between themselves...I only care what law is applicable to me as a business owner.
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:28 AM
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I think you are talking about parental custody as it effects YOU
I'm not talking about how it effects me, I specifically asked my lawyer (and read the statutes as such) from a provider's POV. And also have been speaking on what rights a father legally has (in MN).

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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Q: “What if a mother never listed a father on the paperwork because they are not together?”

A: Unless you have a copy of a court order that restricts the rights of the father, the father still has rights to his child, even if he is not living with the mother.


Q: “If a parent is not on a pick up list do they have to prove they are the parent before I would release the child?”

A: If you know the parent is the parent, and you don’t have a court document that says the parent has lost the rights to the child, then they can pick up the child, regardless of whether their name is on the pick up list.
Again, those Q & As are assuming the parents were not unwed at the time of birth.

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As a licensed child care provider I am LEGALLY required to allow a parent access to their child UNLESS I have COURT documents stating otherwise. A written statement by the mother (unwed or otherwise) is NOT enough to protect MY liability.
I think this is where we disagree... The statutes and info from multiple family lawyers both say an unwed birth father doesn't have legal rights to custody/visit, therefore, DCP do not have to release.

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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I think the point we are both trying to make is overlapped between what you feel as a parent and what is the law according to child care.

I don't care what the law is for parents disputing custody between themselves...I only care what law is applicable to me as a business owner.
Actually quite the opposite I'm not trying to argue how I feel, but how this issue legally applies to DCP.

Two very reputable family lawyers verified unwed birth dads do not have legal custody/visitation rights. One lawyer and the specific Q&As I copied from Tom's blog verified DCP should not release under those specific circumstances. Statutes seem to verify this as well (the ones I posted about earlier).

If we are at an impasse then maybe we should just leave this as it is? I'd like to have the absolute answer but we both seem certain we are right lol and idk who else could clarify besides a family lawyer (I could ask my licensor and if there was a conflict, put her in touch with my lawyer? Or any lawyer; it seems you think mine isn't necessarily right because I hired him?)
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:54 AM
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I'm not talking about how it effects me, I specifically asked my lawyer (and read the statutes as such) from a provider's POV. And also have been speaking on what rights a father legally has (in MN).



Again, those Q & As are assuming the parents were not unwed at the time of birth.



I think this is where we disagree... The statutes and info from multiple family lawyers both say an unwed birth father doesn't have legal rights to custody/visit, therefore, DCP do not have to release.



Actually quite the opposite I'm not trying to argue how I feel, but how this issue legally applies to DCP.

Two very reputable family lawyers verified unwed birth dads do not have legal custody/visitation rights. One lawyer and the specific Q&As I copied from Tom's blog verified DCP should not release under those specific circumstances. Statutes seem to verify this as well (the ones I posted about earlier).

If we are at an impasse then maybe we should just leave this as it is? I'd like to have the absolute answer but we both seem certain we are right lol and idk who else could clarify besides a family lawyer (I could ask my licensor and if there was a conflict, put her in touch with my lawyer? Or any lawyer; it seems you think mine isn't necessarily right because I hired him?)
Again, I have been a child care provider in MN for over 2 decades.... I have actually been in the situation where an unwed mother wanted the father to not have access to the child. I had no COURT DOCUMENTS saying anything. The father had met the child at birth only.

I called the police. Guess who got to take their child?
Yep...the father. Know why? Because the mother did not go to court and get legal COURT DOCUMENTS stating the father had no access.

I have NEVER been advised to do anything other than to follow COURT DOCUMENTS stating who can and can't pick up or access a child.

Unless I have court documents I WILL release a child to a parent. NO MATTER what the other parents says or writes down on paper.

Why would my disbelief of what your attorney says have anything to do with you hiring him? This isn't personal.

It's legal and as a licensed child care provider that signed and agreed to follow MN child care rules and regulations the only directives I will follow are those written in COURT DOCUMENTATION.

I am not trying to get you to believe that I am right or wrong... it's NOT personal.

I am only trying to tell you MY experience as a LICENSED child care provider in MN according to licensing laws.

If your licensor or your attorney tells you anything different.... make sure you get it in writing.

Because personal beliefs or "he said" won't protect your liability.
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Old 11-18-2016, 07:34 AM
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I don't take any of it personal you said earlier to keep in mind that if I was consulting/hiring an attorney, they may just tell me what I want to hear. And emphasized this is what MY lawyer said. I apologize if I misinterpreted that. My experience with consults has been the opposite, lawyers (at least good ones) are very careful to not make promises or just tell you what they know you want to hear It wouldn't benefit him whatsoever to give me inaccurate info in this situation.

As far as the situation you were in before with police, it could be that laws changed since then (depending how long ago it was) or that the officer didn't know the law correctly. Which yes, the same could be said of a lawyer, or even a licensor I personally trust a lawyer's advice over what an officer says; a lawyer's job is to interpret law while an officer enforces it. A family lawyer deals with this type of stuff day in and day out and an officer has to enforce a wide variety of laws (definitly not hating on officers, I have much respect for them!)

I meant no disrespect to your experience as a provider None whatsoever! I think I just have to respectfully disagree with your policy. I did get it in writing so I would be comfortable enforcing what my lawyer said. I also plan to clarify with my licensor to be safe. I totally agree 'he said' is not adequate protection. But if both are saying not to release in this specific situation, then I'll do that.
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:09 AM
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JW - don't you think it's possible that, just maybe, what I'm arguing is correct? That it might be worth bringing this info to your licensor to iron out? Each licensor may interpret laws/rules differently... but multiple lawyers saying the same thing seems clear to me

I'm not trying to be facetious or condescending at all... I understand you have a lot of experience and I truly do respect that. It's honestly a huge reason why I'm bugging about this topic... lol. It just doesn't feel right not being on the same page as a well-established pro

I understand your concerns over trusting others b/c of liability but in the end, whose word should we take? Our licensor? Our own interpretation of what statutes say? A lawyer?

Idk it just seems to me that a lawyer would be the best to get advice from b/c if anything happens, that's the person fighting for (or against) you in court..
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:17 AM
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JW - don't you think it's possible that, just maybe, what I'm arguing is correct? That it might be worth bringing this info to your licensor to iron out? Each licensor may interpret laws/rules differently... but multiple lawyers saying the same thing seems clear to me

I'm not trying to be facetious or condescending at all... I understand you have a lot of experience and I truly do respect that. It's honestly a huge reason why I'm bugging about this topic... lol. It just doesn't feel right not being on the same page as a well-established pro

I understand your concerns over trusting others b/c of liability but in the end, whose word should we take? Our licensor? Our own interpretation of what statutes say? A lawyer?

Idk it just seems to me that a lawyer would be the best to get advice from b/c if anything happens, that's the person fighting for (or against) you in court..
We have a help line for any question we need to clarify or ask to DHS. I submitted the following:

"If an unwed mother gives me a written statement saying I cannot allow her child's biological father to pick up the child, can I legally deny access?"

This is DHS's response:

"Family Child Care providers may not deny a parent access to their child. Court documents must be present on site and provided for any child within a custody or parental dispute. If necessary call 911."

Here is the link to ask DHS...you can ask them yourself.

http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/idcp...ame=DHS-285366
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:52 AM
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JW - don't you think it's possible that, just maybe, what I'm arguing is correct? That it might be worth bringing this info to your licensor to iron out? Each licensor may interpret laws/rules differently... but multiple lawyers saying the same thing seems clear to me
I understand and agree that licensors more than likely all interpret the rules and regs differently. That is why I never just take what my licensor says at face value.
I ask for proof in writing. I also take the info I am provided during trainings and apply. If I am unsure, I contact DHS (as I posted above)

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I'm not trying to be facetious or condescending at all... I understand you have a lot of experience and I truly do respect that. It's honestly a huge reason why I'm bugging about this topic... lol. It just doesn't feel right not being on the same page as a well-established pro
I am not taking it that way at all..

I am also not relying on my opinion...I am relying on the facts as I know them to be true. My experience was simply an example of how the information I have played out for me in real life.

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I understand your concerns over trusting others b/c of liability but in the end, whose word should we take? Our licensor? Our own interpretation of what statutes say? A lawyer?
I take NO ONE's word. I take and follow the written regulations and the written rules for MN family child care that were provided to me upon licensing and re-licensing.

Whether I believe the parent or not has nothing to do with having paperwork.

If an unwed mother is truly concerned about the welfare of her child and has good reason to not want her child to have access to the other parent, then she needs to ensure that will not happen by going to court and getting the required paperwork so that I, as her provider (not her attorney or counsel) does not have to be in the middle of something that has nothing to do with me.

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Idk it just seems to me that a lawyer would be the best to get advice from b/c if anything happens, that's the person fighting for (or against) you in court..
I agree that a lawyer is a great place/person to get advice from but our state has rules and regulations for FCC providers and if or when one of those rules don't support or coincide with what an attorney is saying I would still opt to adhere to the rules and regulations I signed off on (agreeing to) until that regulation or rule has been legally changed to reflect a new or changed thought process.

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Old 11-18-2016, 10:54 AM
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We have a help line for any question we need to clarify or ask to DHS. I submitted the following:

"If an unwed mother gives me a written statement saying I cannot allow her child's biological father to pick up the child, can I legally deny access?"

This is DHS's response:

"Family Child Care providers may not deny a parent access to their child. Court documents must be present on site and provided for any child within a custody or parental dispute. If necessary call 911."

Here is the link to ask DHS...you can ask them yourself.

http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/idcp...ame=DHS-285366
I don't have a license number yet I'll try to get a hold of DHS another way - thanks!

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If an unwed mother is truly concerned about the welfare of her child and has good reason to not want her child to have access to the other parent, then she needs to ensure that will not happen by going to court and getting the required paperwork so that I, as her provider (not her attorney or counsel) does not have to be in the middle of something that has nothing to do with me.
It's not that easy. I wholeheartedly agree providers shouldn't have to be put in the middle but getting court orders could take months, even over a year, and up to $20,000 to get settled. Even with the time and money, evidence may be lacking so the court may have no choice but to deny a request for a protection order.

Granted, yes, this isn't the providers problem. I'm just saying it's not necessarily a solution
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:00 AM
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I don't have a license number yet I'll try to get a hold of DHS another way - thanks!



It's not that easy. I wholeheartedly agree providers shouldn't have to be put in the middle but getting court orders could take months, even over a year, and up to $20,000 to get settled. Even with the time and money, evidence may be lacking so the court may have no choice but to deny a request for a protection order.

Granted, yes, this isn't the providers problem. I'm just saying it's not necessarily a solution
This is a little different but I have a child being adopted by family members but the biological parents will have unsupervised visiting rights....I have a copy of the court declaration but I can't refuse pick up for either party....I can call the primary adopting parents but I can't refuse pickup no matter what without a court order....this is the law and DHS regulation in my state. I don't think we can refuse parental pick up AT ALL without a court order??
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:31 AM
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I agree that a lawyer is a great place/person to get advice from but our state has rules and regulations for FCC providers and if or when one of those rules don't support or coincide with what an attorney is saying I would still opt to adhere to the rules and regulations I signed off on (agreeing to) until that regulation or rule has been legally changed to reflect a new or changed thought process.
Where exactly does a rule/reg go against this? I couldn't find anything specifically that challenges this situation. The closest I got was:

9502.1655
Subp. 19. Mother. "Mother" means a woman who was not married to her child's father when the child was born or when the child was conceived.
Subp. 21. Parent. "Parent" means a person who has the legal responsibility for a child such as the child's mother, father, or legally appointed guardian.


^doesn't define father or dad

9502.0405
F. A provider shall release a child from care only to a parent or a person authorized by the parent.

The last one doesn't say 'mother' but 'parent' meaning a person with the legal responsibility of a child. Other statutes that define who has legal responsibility of a child (I think I mentioned them before in this thread) say an unwed birth father does not have the legal responsibility for a child. Not until a court doc says so.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:32 AM
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We have a help line for any question we need to clarify or ask to DHS. I submitted the following:

"If an unwed mother gives me a written statement saying I cannot allow her child's biological father to pick up the child, can I legally deny access?"

This is DHS's response:

"Family Child Care providers may not deny a parent access to their child. Court documents must be present on site and provided for any child within a custody or parental dispute. If necessary call 911."

Here is the link to ask DHS...you can ask them yourself.

http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/idcp...ame=DHS-285366

BC- great minds! I sent an email to my registrar and she said the same thing. We CANNOT deny access to the father, even if he isn't on the authorized pick up list. I was told to call 911 if I felt inclined with assistance, or if I had never met the father and wanted to verify his identity before releasing the child.

Family court appoints a free guardian ad litem. You can go to court without an attorney. If there IS evidence of the father being unfit, the court will see it. I have had many custody issues and never once has a mother ever paid a dime.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:33 AM
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the biological parents will have unsupervised visiting rights....
That would have been something they agreed to during the adoption, so it makes sense. The adoptive parents agreed to an open adoption.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:43 AM
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Family court appoints a free guardian ad litem. You can go to court without an attorney. If there IS evidence of the father being unfit, the court will see it. I have had many custody issues and never once has a mother ever paid a dime.
You can go without an attorney, but in custody or termination of rights cases, it's strongly recommended to have one. And for good reason - I wouldn't want to take any chances with my kids. There's a reason good attorneys cost a lot of $$ And once a court rules on something, that ruling is usually final. Not all evidence holds up in court- and there isn't always solid evidence to go on...

That's not all situations though, just speaking from my experience as you're speaking from yours
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