Child custody cases, when the parents are not married, end up in court in several different ways.
- The biological father denies paternity and gives no support to the mother. The mother wants the father’s name on her child’s birth certificate and wants, understandably, to receive support. She therefore files in court for paternity establishment and child support. She may apply to the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement to file as a state agency acting on behalf of the child. In that case, the BCSE will file a petition naming both her and the biological father as respondents, to establish paternity and to determine how much each party must contribute for the support of their child. The matter ends there with the unwed mother retaining full custody, unless the father petitions for custody. If he does, a custody case is opened.
- The biological father wants to acknowledge and support the child, and have custody, but the mother either keeps the pregnancy and birth secret from the father, denies paternity, or contests his custody claims. For example, the two might differ on the amount of custody rights each should have. The father then files a petition for custody. When he files for custody he must, by law, make an application to the BCSE.
- The mother receives public assistance, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR). Whether the mother wants to or not, the DHHR then applies to the BCSE to file for child support in order to recoup from the biological father public assistance payments made to the mother. The matter ends there unless there is a dispute over custody and one of the parties files a petition for custody.
None of this happened in the case we are describing.
So how did this mother and child end up in the clutches of a family court and an extortionist judge?
The story is bizarre and eye-opening as to what actually happens in a court of “law.”