Should I allow visitation for a father that has not been around for 6 years? 15 Answers as of June 30, 2014

My son's biological father is not on the birth certificate. He was ordered to pay child support which he pays here and there. He has not seen my son since he was 6 months old when he walked away. Now he wants to be in his life. Does he have any right to him? What can I do to keep my son from being hurt and confused? I'm so confused on what to do.

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Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson | Eric Johnson
This man's level of absence in the child's life is so great (and so deplorable) as to make him a very good candidate for termination of parental rights. In a nutshell, a parent who has abandoned, abused, and/or neglected a child sufficiently as to be unfit as a parent can have his/her parental rights terminated by a court if the other parent files a petition to terminate parental rights with the court and obtains an order terminating those parental rights. The father this child does not inherently have rights of visitation simply because he is the biological father. He cannot demand that you allow him to see "his" when for the previous six years he's had virtually nothing to do with the child. However, bear in mind that the police cannot prevent him from asking the child, and if he were to see your son just walking down the street and picked them up and drove him home to his house, the father can do this because until his parental rights are modified or terminated by a court, you are not the only parent to have exclusive custodial rights. This is why you want to file a petition to terminate his parental rights immediately, and get a temporary order from the court awarding you sole physical and legal custody of the child during the pendency of the proceedings. Do you see why it's such a good idea to get an attorney in these situations? Don't be penny wise and pound foolish; consult with and use the services of a good family law attorney in petitioning to terminate parental rights.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 6/30/2014
Perez-Jenkins Law, LLC | Patricia Perez-Jenkins
In MN, if the parties were not married the mother has full legal and physical custody. Actually has sole legal and physical custody. This means that you decide what you want. Fathers have only the rights they request in court. So if he wants to see his son he would have to make his case in front of a judge. You would make your case as to why that is not appropriate since he hasn't been around for so long. In most cases the court, depending on the age of the child, will allow some sort of visitation. But until he actually commits and puts it in front of a judge, you can decide if you want to let him see your son or not.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/26/2014
Home Town Law, P.A.
Home Town Law, P.A. | Sabina Tomshinsky
Based on your inquiry, it appears that you were never married to the father of your son. In that case, unless the father files a paternity action, he has no rights to time-sharing (visitation) and has no decision-making authority over your son. In other words, if you were never married to the father of your child and no paternity action was commenced, you have all the time-sharing and the father has no rights to the child apart from his legal obligation to financially support his son.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/25/2014
Simpson Law Office, PLLC | Alexander J. Simpson, III
If there is a court order providing for visitation, you must comply with it, however if he has not seen the child in years, you should consider having the visitation order modified. You may be able to get the court to order a gradual phase in of visitation, beginning with a short time say a couple of hours while supervised by a responsible party, and increasing the amount of time allowed as the child develops a relationship with the father. If there is no order for visitation, then you have no obligation to allow it, or may allow it on such terms as you deem appropriate. However, if there is no order awarding you custody of the child, and you allow him to take the child anywhere, for any reason, if he chooses not to return the child you have no way to force him to do so without going to court. You should consult with a local attorney to determine how you wish to proceed.
Answer Applies to: Mississippi
Replied: 6/25/2014
Law Office of Linda K. Frieder
Law Office of Linda K. Frieder | Linda K. Frieder, Esq.
If he is paying support pursuant to an order, there probably was a parentage action. If he did not apply for custodial rights via a court order, he will have to go to court to get visitation. However, efforts by you to keep the child away from him prior to the father getting a visitation order, could be used against you in court. You have to balance the risk of harm introducing your child to an estranged father versus denying a father child relationship.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/25/2014
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    I don't blame you for not wanting to subject your son to confusion and the risk that his father may again disappear. If the Court that awarded you Child Support didn't award the father any custody or visitation, you are not compelled to allow him to visit your son. If a public service agency sought and obtained Child Support orders, those proceedings would likely not have resulted in any custody or visitation order for the father. If the father asks you why you aren't allowing visitation, you can tell him that it would be difficult and confusing for your son. You should be prepared, however, for the father to seek visitation rights to see his son (by filing and proceeding with a Paternity (Uniform Parentage Act) case, and if he does, you should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to advise and represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    TAMBASCO & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Attorneys at Law | R. Tambasco
    At this point he does have parent time rights. Payment or not of child support does not bear on this. Given the circumstances, you may have to petition the court based on reasons for the best interests of the child. However, courts do encourage relationships with children and their parents. The court may order that some type of program be applied given the situation with perhaps supervised parenting time.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Nancy C Chachere Attorney at Law | Nancy C Chachere
    Your child's father is entitled to have a relationship provided it is in your son's best interest. If your son doesn't know him, you may want to engage the assistance of a professional who has experience in re-establishing relationships. You can start with questioning your son about a possible meet up in a neutral place. You would be there and he would feel protected. Under no circumstances am I suggesting that your son's father should be able to pick up your son and take him away from you for visitation. If the father goes to court he would likely get visitation. It is up to you to make sure your son is protected.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Arany & Associates
    Arany & Associates | Lawrence C. Arany
    You are certainly justified in taking steps to protect your son! A judge would understand that, should the matter have to come before a judge. However, despite what Dad has done, I believe that, if Dad were to be persuasive, a court would allow him to be gradually reintroduced into his son's life. After all, how many adults who have been left behind by their parents, perhaps through adoption, try all their lives to find their biological parents? I suggest you see either a professional (such as an MSW) or talk with someone who you think is mature, and has seen a lot of life, and get ideas about what sorts of information you would want from Dad now, before you let him back into your son's life, and that, meanwhile, you encourage Dad that you are willing to allow that to happen, "provided."
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    See an attorney, generally if he has been adjudged the father and is making support payments he will be accorded some rights, how much and with what restrictions is the question. That will depend on the actual circumstances which you have provided little information regarding.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Your son has a right to have a relationship with his father. This statement is assuming that father is not harmful to the child. Obviously, reintroducing the child into father's life and father into child's life will take some time and care. Please meet with an experienced family law attorney to explore your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Shalvoy Law, LLC | Walter A. Shalvoy Jr.
    Make him go back to court to get visitation, explain your concerns to family relations and possibly get a GAL appointed for your son. If he does get visitation, have the child support taken out of his weekly earnings and sent directly to you.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Provda Law Firm
    Provda Law Firm | Bruce Provda
    Yes he has a parental right. If you have good reason you can petition the court to deny visitation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk
    Law Office of Andrew Oostdyk | Andrew Oostdyk
    You may want to consider filling a Motion to Modify and ask the Court to order supervised visitation until the father and child can develop a relationship with each other.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/25/2014
    GordenLaw, LLC
    GordenLaw, LLC | Vanessa J. Gorden
    Look at your current order. If it does not spell out visitation, you have the right to refuse. If you don't believe it to be in your son's best interests, you can suggest a visitation step up plan (start with an hour or two and build up to more normalized parenting time). Your best bet is to talk with an attorney experienced in family law.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/25/2014
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