Can the mother of a child keep her daughter away from her father? 1 Answers as of April 05, 2011

The mother uses her daughter to control her father. Now that he is standing up to her, the mother will not let him see his daughter. This has been going on since his daughter was a toddler. There was never a marriage or set visitation.

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The short answer is NO. She cannot deny visitation, but keep in mind that as a putative father, you have all the rights of a father, but she can and may tell any police officer that helps you that you are not the father just to get control of the instant situation. What should you do? Get a set of custody orders.

First, let me explain a few concepts. A putative father is a "presumed father" who has not been adjudged the father. Legally speaking a putative father is the father until someone proves otherwise but the option of proving otherwise is still viable. An adjudicated father is the legal father as a matter of judicial decree, even if he is not as a matter of science. This is an important distinction since in Texas, a putative father has the legal right to a DNA test but the theory of Res Judicata (the thing has been decided) prevents an adjudicated father from ever challenging paternity in a court of law. Simply put, if you have any doubt, get DNA the first time there is a court case. Once the Judge says you are Daddy - whether the decree is based on DNA evidence or your mere acceptance - you become the Father by law forever.

Second, child support and child visitation are related only in that they apply to the same parties. However, these two things are independent of one another, in other words, she cannot withhold visitation if you do not pay and you cannot withhold money if she does not facilitate visitation. Finally, unless there is a court she has done nothing illegal by denying you visitation. Keep in mind, this is a two way street. I am not telling you to find and snatch the kids, but she cannot prosecute you for taking them either. You are both parents and until the Court determines which parent has the right to establish domicile, you have equal rights. You do not have less rights just because you are Dad.

Let me say that again, a father's rights are identical to a mother's rights in every shape, form, fashion and respect unless and until a court says otherwise. It is a common misconception that that Mom has some superior rights to the kids, particularly in Texas. We use the Best Interest of the Children rule when we decide who gets what rights and we also assume that both parents get equal rights - with a few minor exceptions. There is a presumption that one parent will establish residence but hat does not have to be designated. Please contact me if you live in Dallas or Collin county. I will be happy to give you more direct information tailored to your situation.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/5/2011
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