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OK, I am completely unsure as to where I should ask this obscure question, but there is a quite a bit of questions to help with my girlfriend's current situation.

OK, let me start of by saying that I have been with my girlfriend for 4 months now and I really do care for both her and her daughter. The situation is as follows. My girlfriend came out of a bad relationship of her daughter's father, current ex. The situation was quite bad that they had to rush get her and her daughter away from the ex's house hold, whom he lives with his parents. So, we are all young, around 20 years of age. His entire family, with the exception of one of the kids, are abusive physically and verbally. The ex is like a borderline pedophile because he has told my now current girlfriend that he would like to do a mother, daughter "thing" which I don't know what the hell that means. They left the household for good when the daughter was a little over 1 year of age.

Now, what she has to deal with. She cannot get a job because the ex has stolen her state ID and possibly her social security number, verified when she tried applying for welfare she was denied because it was already in use. She filed for fraud and the account was closed. She contacted the SSA for a way of getting a new SSN, but was unable to because there was no proof of fraud. The ex has also taken her daughter's birth certificate and SSN. So, currently she cannot do much for her daughter in regards to anything legal, as far as I know.

Is there anyway my girlfriend can gain custody over her daughter. She tells me she is in fear of losing her daughter because if she were to ever be taken the police wouldn't do anything because no one person filled for custody. Something along those lines, but don't completely remember. She has tried to get a job, but she needs a state ID and she is literally has no money. She lives with her mother and is only able to get WIC checks. The mother and her family together can live pretty well off. They struggle financially, but is able to provide food and shelter. She is trying to sell her crafts and baked goods to help get some money.

The ex visit every now and then. He seems to be recently now have an interest in helping my girlfriend and her daughter, so it seems. Sure, he gives her some money, pays for some diapers or baby wipes, but every time he visit he focuses mainly on my girlfriend and sometimes spends time with his own daughter. My girlfriend and I think he is there to try and get back with her, but she hasn't said anything in fear he will threaten to take his daughter away saying that the house is unfit to raise a child.

The house is not the best or cleanest, but they do try and the recent property was owned by a hoarder and compared to how it was. It looks A LOT better. The daughter has a food everyday and is safe as I know. She has never gotten hurt due to the house not being safe, but rather her falling from rough play.

What are some things my girlfriend can do? She doesn't know I posted this and I am doing this because I really do love her and her daughter and I want to be able to help her out however I can, but I only know so much and don't know what to do in a situation like this.

** If any more info is needed please say so and I will add more if need be. **

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to help her out.

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You should add your location (if in the US, which state) as this could change what help is available and the legal situation. –  Vicky Sep 19 '13 at 8:40
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I know in my area there is an organization that offers free legal consultations with a lawyer. One of my friends is a lawyer who participates. They offer time slots during one Saturday a month or something like that. You should see if your girlfriend qualifies. Then she can speak to someone about custody issues who knows. –  justkt Sep 19 '13 at 12:17
    
We live in California –  zyeek Sep 19 '13 at 15:35
    
Call the local Sheriff's or Police non-emergency number. Ask them to accompany your GF to the ex's house to retrieve the state ID. –  longneck Sep 30 '13 at 15:53

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I am not an attorney so I can't give legal advice, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart and I think she can do more than she realizes and I think there are organizations that could help her and she just doesn't know it.

First, if he has her state ID and her SSN, he has effectively stolen her identity. And if he's used it (like he did to get welfare) then he's committed a CRIME! The Federal Trade Commission has a whole section of their website dedicated to identity theft. She needs to check her credit report and make sure he hasn't used her information to also make purchases and get credit in her name. She can get a credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) once a year for free (visit this link). I know this seems a little ridiculous since it doesn't actually pertain directly to the question you asked, but she does NOT want to get two years down the road from this and suddenly start getting phone calls from debt collectors for things she's never purchased.

Secondly, she needs to protect her daughter's identity. It sounds like this guy's a scumbag and wouldn't think twice about destroying his daughter's credit once he figures out that he can't use your girlfriend's. The FTC website I linked to above has good information on how to protect your child's identity, it also had information on SSN theft and some steps she needs to take to get a new social security number and state ID.

Finally, has she spoken with an area battered women's shelters? Even though they're called "battered women's shelters" they're really there to help women get out of abusive relationships--not all of which are physically abusive. Even though your gf is all ready out, one of these organizations might be able to help her find out what her legal rights are in California in terms of custody.

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Thanks so much. I have told my girlfriend what she can do and will get right on it. I told her she may need to be issue a new SSN, but she has told me that they said she can't because there was no "proof" of a compromised SSN. Was wondering if there is any sort of action that can help change there minds and show that her identity and her daughter's identity are compromised and are susceptible to identity theft. –  zyeek Sep 20 '13 at 5:39
    
I think following the steps the FTC lists and getting a police report would go a LONG way toward helping her out. If someone else was using her SSN to file for state assistance then clearly her SSN was compromised. I've been in your gf's shoes in terms of a life in shambles and dealing with an ex who has turned my life upside down. It feels like a huge up-hill battle and you don't even know where to start. Encourage her, help her, you may even have to do some of it for her just to get her started. She's overwhelmed and stressed and worried. This might help her regain some of her power. –  Meg Coates Sep 20 '13 at 14:11

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