My 7 year old daughter has hardly seen her father since she was born, as he lives in another state. I have reason to believe my daughter is not safe around his wife. Do I have the right to deny them private visitation; without my presence? We were never married and have never been to court.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Actually the law in AZ is a bit different from most other states. In situation where the parents were never married, and there is no written visitation agreement or court order, the father has no parenting rights. At least not yet.
Once he files a court action to establish Paternity, Joint Legal Decision Making Authority, (formerly Custody) Parenting Time (formerly Visitation) and Child Support, his rights will be established.
Once Paternity is established by the court, men and women have the same rights. That is to say, if he wants to be involved with his child, he stands a very good chance of being awarded Joint Legal Decision Making Authority, (formerly Custody) as well as substantial Parenting Time (formerly Visitation), at least that is once he establishes a relationship with his child.
The most common defense to minimal contact over a long period of time is that you would not allow it or made it very difficult.
The court would likely order that the child will eventually be with dad on many of the school breaks, long weekends and for a substantial part of the summer.
Unless you can convince the judge that the step-mother is a danger to the child, you will not be able to decide who he brings around her.
Therefor, I would recommend that you see a family law attorney in Tucson right away to better understand your rights and options and do not discuss the information shared here with the dad, that is, don't help him by telling him what he needs to do.
You may decide that the best action is to take no action at this time, but you should consult an attorney right away as the information contained in this post is very general in nature and is not the same as a legal consultation.
Good luck to you and your daughter.
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Family Law Attorney
Important disclaimer: I am licensed to practice law in Oregon, not Arizona, and so can't give advice about Arizona law. This is just a discussion of general legal principles. You should consult with an attorney who practices in your state if you have specific questions.
In the absence of a custody order from the court, both of a child's parents have equal and total rights to custody of their children. The law presumes that, until there's a legal case filed, the parents are cooperating. So you have the 'right' to not send her to see them; but he also has the 'right' to pick her up and take her away one day. This is obviously not a satisfactory arrangement. You should consult with an attorney about getting a custody order in place. If the father wants to have time with his child, he'll probably get at least some of it; but you may be able to make that time supervised by a professional, if you can demonstrate why the child is unsafe around him or his family. You need a concrete, demonstrable reason: mere suspicion will not cut it.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: email@example.com | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Attorney Bodzin offers you excellent advice. I urge you to contact a local attorney familiar with custody issues to explain your options to you. Best of Luck.
Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.