Can I deny visitation even though we have no child custody agreement? 25 Answers as of June 09, 2011

Me and my ex-boyfriend have no legal custody agreement for our four month old I am the custodial parent he signed the birth certificate and now wants a dna test. Can I deny him visitation and if I do will it reflect badly on me in court later?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You should consider what is in the child's best interests.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/9/2011
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
You did not explain why you want to deny your ex visitation. In general, each parent has a right to have a relationship with his/her child. If you are concerned about your safety or your child's safety, then you should immediately go to court and apply for an order of protection. You will be asked to explain your concerns and why you believe that visitation would be unsafe. If you are merely denying your ex visitation because you no longer"like" him, want contact with him, or because you are angry with him, it will reflect poorly on you. I suggest discussing the situation with an attorney so that you can learn about all of your options and work out the best possible solution for you and your baby.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/2/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
You certainly wouldn't be the first, but in general, you should be acting in the child's best interest. Having said that, with no order in place, and the child being so young, you may be able to explain the denial on the basis of the child's best interest, in that the father is simply ill-equipped to handle the infant on his own. If he can handle it, and there is no risk to the child, let him parent the child some so you can take a break. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/2/2011
Fox Law Firm LLC
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
If he is not an unfit parent it is illegal to withhold visitation.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/2/2011
Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
Under Minnesota law, in a custody case, the mother has sole legal and physical custody until a court determines these issues, including parenting time. It is highly advisable for you to contact and hire an experienced family law attorney to obtain legal advice about withholding parenting time. There may be a valid basis to do so, however, this must be assessed by an experienced attorney. This action may well reflect poorly on you in a subsequent court case. This is not a situation where you should make decisions without legal advice and representation.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    You threw a lot of questions in there! If he is denying paternity, then he shouldn't have an interest in seeing the child. If he agrees he is the father, your denial of access to him is inappropriate unless there is a good reason for it. I suggest you go through a custody application at court and, if he believes he is not the father, he can agree to have the test and pay for it.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of John C. Volz
    Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
    Yes, you can deny him visitation, however it will reflect poorly on you should you have to go court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    From your description of the situation, your boyfriend has no specific "rights" to anything because there has been no judicial determination of paternity, he is now apparently denying or doubting paternity, and there is no court ordered Parenting Plan indicating who has the decision making authority or other responsibilities. Whether denial of visitation will reflect badly on you depends largely on why you are denying him and what kind of relationship he has had with you and the baby to date. If you are doing it out of spite, or simply using the baby as a weapon of control, you won't earn any points for good behavior. If you don't believe he has the ability to care for an infant and visits in your presence tend to become confrontational or violent, you are simply being realistic. You need to start a paternity case now and get the question decided once and for all. If he is the father, you need to get a court approved Parenting Plan in place that serves the child's best interests and prevents continued conflict and dispute.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Since there is no court order you would not be violating a court order by denying visitation, but yes, doing so would reflect badly on you later in court. The two of you would be much better off working out some agreed orders for the child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    He is the father, therefore he has equal rights to make decisions, access and possession. That is the legal answer. Now a more practical answer is that there are currently no orders, so if you deny him, he has very little recourse. He could file a petition to establish paternity and get a court order, or he could exercise his right to possession and take it (this gets really tricky and nasty when stuff like that happens). If you deny visitation and he gains access, what is to stop him from denying you visitation? Have you considered the inverse proposition? Okay, the second part of your question is a lot easier. Yes, it will reflect poorly on you, UNLESS you can articulate a justifiable reason why you denied the visitation that is tied to the health, safety and welfare of the child. BTW: "I don't trust him" or I don't want him to see my kid" and similar reasons are not justifiable. Your "feelings" are not justifiable. You must have something you can point at that you can tell the Court, otherwise, it is just conjecture, no evidence, and it will reflect poorly on you. As for DNA, he is absolutely entitled to DNA, but the law is clear, the party asking is the party paying for the test. So, if he wants one, agree, make it easy, but make him pay for it up front.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You should have a good reason to deny visitation and you have not indicated any such reason.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Each parent has the same rights of parenting time as the other. Denying parenting time without a substantial reason could put you in a very bad position in front of any judge. You have not given me enough detail to really discuss your situation; but if father put his name on the birth certificate by signing an affidavit of paternity he is for the moment the legal father; so your reason for denying parenting time had better involve major safety issues. Check the parenting plan of the county in which you live to see if they have suggestions for parenting time of very young children.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Statutes clearly award single mothers both residential and full custodial rights and obligations. This is separate from any child support c to the putative father. You may, if you live in Ohio, deny your boyfriend visitation. Whether it may reflect badly on you later will depend upon many factors . Please seek out legal counsel familiar with support and custodial relationships near you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Without an order, visitation is by mutual agreement. That said, I would probably file a motion to establish a custody and visitation order as soon as possible. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    If you currently have no court order granting visitation the court cannot hold you in contempt. I would comply with the DNA request and then pursue child support through your local child support office. If he wants formalized visitation he should hire an attorney and petition the court to order visitation. Your guide for what to do should always be what is in the best interests of the child. Children generally benefit from having a relationship with both parents that can get along and keep the child's welfare as the most important issue.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If there is a good chance that he is the father of your child, and that he does not present a danger to your child, you would best try to create a workable parenting relationship with him, because that can prevent costly and emotionally draining battles that could continue for years.If you deny him visitation, he would likely file a Paternity case and claim that you refused to allow him the frequent and continuing contact with his child that the legislature mandated that parents be afforded, and he could seek custody of your child. If there is no question that he is the child's father, you should have no problem with him taking a DNA test - or you could agree to forego that TEXT and agree that he is your child's father.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    This answer only applies if you are in Georgia. The father has no rights until he files to legitimize the child. However, after he does, your conduct might look bad. See a lawyer to discuss this.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    He has a right to a DNA test and if he's actually the father, you have nothing to fear or become defensive about him requesting it. He apparently just wants to be sure he's the father before he has to pay child support for the next 18 years. Not an unreasonable request and, again, nothing to fear - if you know for sure he's the actual father. If you try to coerce him into giving up the DNA test by withholding visitation, and he forces the test on you through the courts, then, yes, it will reflect badly upon you later. Why not let him see the child and get the test and perhaps it will all turn out just fine. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You should consult with an attorney concerning all your rights and options, including as to visitation and child support, in the context of a paternity suit or legitimation action. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    It would be best not to deny visitation once a pattern or routine has been in place, as he may indeed try to use that against you in a future custody hearing. However, that being said, there is no order in place requiring you to allow visitation, so you are not at risk of being found in contempt. At this point, I would strongly recommend that you iron out the paternity issue and obtain a formal custody/support order through the court. This would give you something to rely on and reduce the potential for future disputes with the father.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    There is nothing to prevent you from denying visits by the other parent. However, if you believe him to be the parent and parenting time is withheld without good cause, it may certainly be raised as an issue in any subsequent custody and/or parenting time proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    What is your reason for denying visitation?If you change because you are mad at him, that's not much of a reason. You should file a parentage action asap to get order in your life. Right now, your rights are no different than his. He could take the child and deny you visitation as much as you can do the same. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Berner Law Group, PLLC
    Berner Law Group, PLLC | Jack Berner
    It definitely could reflect badly upon you, depending on the circumstances. Sounds like you need legal advice going forward to keep you out of hot water and get the best position/advantage possible in your situation. If you reside in Western Washington, feel free to contact my office for a free, no obligation consultation-by phone or in person-about this situation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/1/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    This all depends on if you have filed a paternity action. Be careful denying him any time to see his child. See if you can come to an agreement in writing or go and get a temporary restraining order to keep the baby from him until a DNA test is done. I would consult with a local attorney where you live.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/1/2011
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