A father’s visitation rights are one of the most violated rights in our society. Because the mother of the child or children is usually given custody, the father, in some cases, has to fight in order to see his children. When a man is declared the legal father of a minor child, the name of the father will be entered on the child’s birth certificate. This is the key to contesting child custody, or the future of the father’s visitation rights.
In the event that the father of the minor child does not wish to contest custody of the minor child, he still has other rights in regard to the minor child. The father’s visitation rights with the minor child must be respected and honored by the custodial parent. Each particular case has different circumstances, and your particular case will determine whether you will have full father visitation rights or whether the visitation will be court restricted. In cases where the father has just entered the child’s life, the father will need to develop a relationship with the minor child before he is able to have unsupervised visitation.
The father also has the right to have shared parental responsibility concerning the minor child. Shared parental responsibility is a term of law, which essentially means that you have a say in how the child will be raised. The mother of the child must consult and discuss with you the various issues concerning the minor child, such as religion, school, doctors, illnesses, vacations, and others. If your ex-spouse has custody, she cannot solely dictate terms or activities for the children. You have the right to be informed as to the activities of the minor child and you have the right to participate in those activities.
In order to protect your father’s visitation rights, you must know how to react to any potential situations that arise. Your scheduled time with your child is your time. If your ex-spouse schedules activities during your scheduled visitation time, petition the court to hold your ex-spouse in contempt.
If your spouse completely withholds visitation altogether, call the police and get a police report as soon as possible. Do not engage in any form of verbal abuse or any other tactics as this could lead to your arrest. If you do not have an order of visitation, have your lawyer obtain a court order. If you do have one, have your attorney seek court enforcement and a charge of contempt. Waiting too long to get court action might make the court think you’re really not that concerned. One thing you don’t want to do is withhold child support in lieu of your ex-spouse’s denial of father visitation rights. These are two separate issues and this can hurt you without the approval of a court order to do so.
In the event that your ex-spouse is intending to move out of state with the children, you must act as quickly as possible to protect your father’s visitation rights. If there are no provisions on relocation in your separation agreement, the stipulation of settlement, or your judgment of divorce, have your lawyer immediately go to court to ask that your ex-spouse be restrained from moving the children without written consent or permission from the court. It is much easier to stop your ex-spouse from moving than it is to get her back after the move. The best way to protect your father’s visitation rights is to know exactly what they are. An experienced attorney can help explain what your father visitation rights are and how to handle any situations that arise. It’s better to know your options beforehand than to have to scramble to find a solution.