Who gets invited to my baby’s birth?

Cindy Best

Question: My baby is due around mid October. The baby’s father is not married to me and has been very mean and abusive to me ever since I told him I was pregnant. He calls me nasty names and texts me threats. At first he didn’t want the baby and now he threatens to show up at the hospital and take the baby. Do I have to let him in the delivery room? Can he just take my baby?

Advice: First, congratulations on your baby. Having a baby is one of the greatest joys in the world. It is unfortunate that you do not have a caring, supportive partner to share this with. But legally, he has no right to be in the hospital over your objection. He has no right to be in the room with you. He cannot take the baby away from you. In Arizona, the mother has sole legal decision making and sole possession of a baby born to unmarried parents (unless he gets a court order after filing a petition). If the father wants to be in your baby’s life, he should probably get some counseling and deal with his inappropriate behavior and anger. If he files in court after the birth, the court will look at his behavior during this time and how he talked to and treated you. The document that he files is called a Petition for Paternity, Parenting Time and Child Support. You will need to file a responsive pleading to that petition and it would be wise to consult with an attorney at that time. In the meantime, of course you know that a loving supportive partner would be kind, help with finances and share the emotional ups and downs with you without pressure. But the only recourse for him to share the baby, without your consent, is to go to court and show the court that he is fit and has not been abusive. Unfortunately, that might be difficult for him. Try to focus on the happiness of having a baby and if he files a petition, you can negotiate everything at that time and we can help. If you are worried and anxious in the meantime, we can meet with you sooner. Take care.

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