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[QUOTE=Hazel_Eyes;3205119]a bizarre twist... I currently live in South Carolina and apparently the law here states that if a child is born out of wedlock, the mother has sole custody.

[...]

Now the lawyer I spoke to told me that the mother has sole custody since they were not married. [QUOTE]


Was this from a lawyer who specializes in family law? I'm no expert but that just seems wrong. Maybe she has de facto custody upon birth but once parentage is established, the fact that they weren't married can't possibly be a bar to him now seeking custody. I found the notion of a mother forever having sole custody just because the parents were unmarried really baffling so I did a quick internet search. That led me to The South Carolina Children's Code (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act - Title 20, Ch. 7, Article 9, Subarticle 2). Here's a pertinent section:

"SECTION 20-7-100. Rights and duties of parents in regard to their minor children.

[B]The mother and father are the joint natural guardians of their minor children[/B] and are equally charged with the welfare and education of their minor children and the care and management of the estates of their minor children; and the mother and father have equal power, rights, and duties, and [B]neither parent has any right paramount to the right of the other concerning the custody of the minor[/B] or the control of the services or the earnings of the minor or any other matter affecting the minor. Each parent, whether the custodial or noncustodial parent of the child, has equal access and the same right to obtain all educational records and medical records of their minor children and the right to participate in their children's school activities unless prohibited by order of the court. Neither parent shall forcibly take a child from the guardianship of the parent legally entitled to custody of the child."

It seems to me that the question is whether your bf is listed as the child's father. If not, he'll have to establish parentage through DNA. In any case, the above South Carolina Law doesn't seem to distinguish between "parents" and "married parents" -- if your bf is the "parent" then he is a "joint natural guardian" and seems to have an equal right to custody. I'd get a second opinon or a clarification from another lawyer. What this lawyer told you just seems wrong and seems inconsistent with the above law. Maybe I'm wrong or am missing something... but still ... it's too important not to get a second opinion from a lawyer who specializes in family law. If it's too expensive to go to a bunch of different lawyers, maybe there is a fathers' rights group in your area that he can call for advice?





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