my daughters father has not been in her life for more than 5 months. now that she'll be three he wants visitation
Family Law Attorney
I'm sorry to hear that. First, what I would want to know if he's paying child support, were you married to him, is he on the birthcertificate, etc. If you have a court order that gives him visitation, then you must follow that even if he's not paying child support or hasn't see your daughter. The thought is that just because one parent is not doing the right thing, you must still follow a court order or you could be held in comtempt of court.
This is just an opinion, and is no way to take the place of an attorney that knows all the facts of the case. Therefore, I would seek such advice as soon as possible.
Presuming that you and the father are not married, unless the natural father files pleadings in Court seeking an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, which translates into a filing for custody and or visitation, he has no rights.
Threshold question: Has the Father established paternity by genetic testing ?
If so he has standing to file an action for companionship. If not, you have the ability to delay him by seeking genetic testing to determine paternity.
Many fathers do not want to file for genetic testing/paternity, because by doing so, they open themselves up to an order for child support.
However, what you need to consider is whose, if anyone's, interests are best served by preventing an absent father from getting visitation. The Court seeks to determine whether visitation is in the best interest of the minor child. The Courts do not generally weigh a five-month absence as being substantive. While they may baby step visitation, five months is certainly not enough to preclude his visitation as a punishment.
A further caveat:
Have a care-- if the reason you seek to deny visitation is "Baby Mama Drama". Courts generally take the position that you felt strongly enough about the father to make a baby with him, that he can't be all bad a few months later. It takes a pretty strong reason to deny him visitation. A change in your feelings regarding the father does not necessarily justify, in the eyes of the Court, the denial of a Father for your child. Since there's not much information in the question, I tried to give you a fairly broad response. I hope the response helps.
So, tread lightly. Good Luck.
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