Father seeks custody of child

When it comes to children born to an unmarried couple, questions regarding paternity, DNA testing, child support and custody, visitation rights and more may arise. In general, where possible, it is in the best interest of the child to have on-going contact with both parents. However, in certain cases, such as those involving domestic abuse, drug abuse or sexual assault, contact with one or both parents may be detrimental to the well-being of the child.

Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that the grandparents of a 2-year-old have filed guardianship and adoption paperwork, and are also seeking to terminate the parental rights of father of the 2-year-old. The grandparents fear that the now 21-year-old father, who got their then 14-year-old daughter pregnant, will be granted visitation rights or custody of the child. The teen apparently become pregnant in 2010, shortly after the then 19-year-old soldier was introduced to her by mutual friends while he was on leave from Florida.

Given the age of the girl when she got pregnant and the fact that the 19-year-old was a soldier, the family agreed to have the criminal case of sexual assault, statutory rape and committing an indecent act handled by a military court. However, the military court did not find him guilty of the charges. But, he was convicted of an unrelated drug charge and discharged from the military. Presently, the 21-year-old is seeking to have his parental rights recognized.

The case is still pending and it is unclear what the outcome will be. Nevertheless, it is important for any parent or guardian to keep the best interest of the child or children in mind, and where possible to promote contact and foster a relationship with both parents.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Former soldier wants custody of child he conceived with 14-year-old Missouri girl," June 18, 2013

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