What Should A Father Consider When Filing For Visitation?

There are many things that you are going to need to prove when you are fighting for visitation with your child after you have established paternity.  The main thing that you have to remember is that you need to be able to prove that you are able to properly care for the child when he/she is in custody with you. It’s also important to come up with a custody or visitation plan that is in the best interest of your child(ren).

Questions to Ask Yourself

The main thing that you will need to do is make sure that you answer these questions for yourself.  Each one is going to be asked while you are in court.What is your current housing situation?

You are going to need to prove that you are able to have a stable environment for your child to live in.  In some states, you will have to be able to provide separate bedrooms depending on your child’s sex.  Make sure that you talk to a legal professional so that you have all of your stuff in order when you head into the courtroom.


What was the dynamic of your home when living together?  Who did what with your child?

 It is really important to show the type of things that you did with your child when you were married.  If you were not really that involved, then you are not likely to get the same visitation rights that you would have if you were involved 50/50 with your soon to be ex.


If you have not had contact with the child?  Why?

Think about the reasons that you have not been with your child.  If your ex is keeping you from your child, make sure that you are documenting all attempts that you are making to be with the child.  Keep documentation of all contact and all attempts for proof in court.


Think about your past.  Could anyone say that you (or your ex) have an issue with anger, abuse, alcohol or drug use/abuse? 

If either of you have had issues in the past, then staying away from a lifestyle that could potentially show that you are involved with this again is important.  It is important to have proof of your stability.  However, if you are not stable then it is important to get the help that you need so that you can be the best for your child.


Know Your Rights and What You Should Be Doing

The first thing that you should do is talk to a legal professional about your rights as a parent.  Ask about visitation and what steps you should be following.


Make Your Own Plan

Even if your ex has a plan.  Make your own plan that allows for visitation and time spent with each parent.  Having a plan in hand will help if your ex proposes a plan that you do not agree with.


Always Make Sure Your Child is Ready

When it is time to meet the other parent, make sure that you are not late.  Take the time to prepare your child for the transition and talk to them about it.


Spend Every Minute with Your Child That You Can

 It does not matter what else you have going on.   Make sure that your child is your number one priority.  Doing this will keep your child from feeling rejection and will show your effort to be a parent.


Make Sure that You Are Always on Time

Of course, emergencies happen from time to time or something might come up that would cause you to be late.  This means that you want to be on time as much as possible.  Showing up on time will keep you from having any future issues with your ex.


Have a Room and Space Set Up for Your Child

 Your child will need their own space in your home.  Make sure that there is a place where they will have toys and be able to play.  Also make sure that you have a room for them that is ready with the things that they will need.


Never Keep Your Child From Communicating with Your Ex

 No matter what.  When you have your child, allow them to freely communicate with your ex.  If they want to call their other parent, they should have that right to do so.


Keep Your Ex Updated

Your ex should always have your personal information.  They need your phone number and address so keep them updated.  If there is a reason that they should not have this information, then talk to your lawyer and make sure that your lawyer has what they need in case there is an emergency.


Fighting for visitation is never an easy subject.  When you are in this situation, there is a lot that you want to be able to do.  Being able to make sure that you are going to have the best possible chances of having the visitation time that you deserve only requires that you show your desire and ability to care for your child.

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I’m Not on the Birth Certificate – Now What?

Many men find themselves in a situation where they know that someone is having their baby, but they are trying to say that the baby is with someone else.  Imagine the horror that you might feel if you find out that your name is not going to be on your child’s birth certificate.  Worse yet is finding out that someone else is going to have their name on the birth certificate.  It was not that long ago that a father would basically be told that he had no rights and that he should give up trying.  Thankfully today this is not case and you have legal rights that you can take full advantage of.

Realize Your Rights

Until your name is on the birth certificate, it may be difficult to have rights to your child.  You might experience problems seeing your child or spending time with them unless your child’s mother allows it.  In addition you are not responsible to care for the child.  This means that you should keep copies of checks and documentation of everything that you do for the child during this time.  This way you are not going to end up in a situation where the mom claims that you knew about the child but did nothing to attempt to support the child.

Petition to Establish Paternity

Once you realize that your name is not on the birth certificate, you can file a petition to establish paternity.  This requires you to go to court and explain why you think that the child is yours.  It also requires you to submit to a paternity test. Once the paternity test comes out positive, a petition for custody and visitations can be filed with the court.

Once Paternity is Established

Once you have proof that the child is your child, there are several different things that you can do.  If the mother is stable and taking good care of the child, one option is to petition the courts for joint custody or physical custody.    Another options is to try and get liberal visitation with the child so that you can establish a relationship with him or her.  Click here for tips on what what you should consider before filing for visitations. If the mother is not taking care of the child or if the child is in danger, you can file for sole or full custody.  These cases are hard to win unless there are police reports or child protective services records against the mother.  In some cases when the mother is doing okay but not giving the child the fullest life, you could be awarded joint custody.  Talking with a lawyer or legal specialist that specializes in custody cases is going to give you an idea of the best case scenario for your situation and what steps you need to take to proceed.

Start Offering Support for the Child

Many fathers fight against having to pay child support.  If you go to the court or child support agency and establish child support, before establishing custody or visitation, it is going to show that you are willing to do what is best for your child. This is something that is going to go a long way in the courtroom.  By showing that you are trying to take care of the child on your own, you are showing an initiative to be able to prove that you want what is best for the child.

Be Prepared to Have Your Lifestyle Examined

If the mother is fighting against you seeing the child or having any rights, then be prepared.  Be open and honest about past mistakes so that you can determine how to go about preparing to stand in front of the judge.  Many things might be brought up that the judge may frown upon.  It’s to your benefit to prove that you are a fit parent with a stable living environment and your child(ren) will be in good hands when you in your care.

It’s important to remember that no matter what route you take, custody is not about winning or losing. What matters most is what’s in the best interest of the child and doing your best to make sure the children do not become the victims of a divorce or custody battle.

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