The woman brought her daughter to my work (she scheduled an appointment) and told me that she is my husband’s child. She said he refused a paternity test and said if she keeps pushing for one he’ll take her daughter away from her. He is making it hard for her to get a job and she needs money for the child. My husband is not supporting her and she is destitute. She has no money for a lawyer and we both know my husband has connections everywhere so a lawyer might not even help.
Family court is blessedly straightforward in regards to custody and child support. It's about the best interests of the child. No judge is going to take a child away from the decent mother it has always lived with, and give it to a man who denies paternity and resists paying child support and rarely or never visits. Even if she has no lawyer and he has 10 of them, that's the way it will go. He will be required to pay her child support and a visitation schedule will be arranged, if your husband wants visitation.
The only way he could "take the child from her" would be to literally kidnap the child and disappear, but given his comfortable life and lack of interest in the child, that seems extremely unlikely in this case. She will likely have to share the child with him via a court-ordered visitation schedule, because courts believe both parents should spend time with the child, unless one has been PROVEN to be abusive to the child. If she doesn't want to share visitation, then she's probably better off not taking him to court.
If she were trying to get money for herself out of him, or trying to convince a judge that he was unfit for visitation, etc., that's where a good lawyer really matters. But this is a cut and dried paternity and child support claim. If he is the child's biological father he will have to pay the support. No expensive lawyer or amount of "influence" will get him out of that.
Because you've lived a very sheltered life, you are probably not aware of the reality of this, but that is very much the way it is. Tell the OP, who obviously doesn't understand the system, either, that she can go to court to get child support and arrange a legal visitation schedule, without fear of losing access to her child.
ETA: I'm assuming you're an American. If you're in another country, I can't vouch for its family court system.
[This message edited by morningglory at 4:14 PM, Saturday, May 7th]