Your relationship with your co-parent after a breakup or divorce can be rocky at best. The difficulties between you, however, shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with your relationship with your child.
If your co-parent isn’t allowing you to be an active participant in your child’s life, it may be time to take a few legal steps. Here is some information that can help inform your next move in your visitation and custody situation.
Have you legally established paternity?
The child’s mother is, naturally, automatically presumed to have all of the rights of any natural parent to custody and control over her baby.
A child’s father, however, does not have the same benefits unless they are married to the mother. If you never married your child’s mother, you may not have established legal paternity. If so, that’s the first step in your battle.
Do you have an informal custody agreement?
While it’s never a good idea to operate this way, a lot of parents (married or not) separate without getting a custody and parenting plan in place.
For the parent who relies on visitation, this is a very precarious position. Your next step in this situation would be to ask for a formal parenting agreement. That becomes an official court order and bestows some clear rights on which you can then rely.
Do you have a custody order already in place?
If you have a custody order in place, that’s an enforceable order from the court — and the court usually won’t take kindly to the orders being ignored.
Generally, the court will usually try to resolve the situation without drastic measures (unless they’re required). Those could include:
- Ordering make-up visitation time
- Changing how physical custody is allotted
- Imposing fines on the non-compliant parent
- Holding the non-compliant parent in contempt of court
If you’re being denied visitation with your child, don’t guess about your next move. Talk to an experienced Russell attorney about your rights and get a plan in action.