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Am I wrong to deny visitation rights if my son's father barely comes to see him? What's our rights?

Jacksonville, FL |

My son is 8 years old and his biological father is listed on his birth certificate. He pays child support but in 2012 he's only visited him twice. I started keeping track beginning this year specifically. But generally since he was one years old he will call once in a while and asks for his son the day before without advance notice. My fiance wants to adopt my son after we get married. This kind of instability from his biological father is not the best interest for my son. I have always tried to be the adult and arrange time for his father to put his son first. Unfortunately he always had other priorities in mind besides his son. Now he believes he has rights to his son when he feels like it.

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Attorney answers 3


Has a Parenting Plan ever been established through the courts? If not, that is something you may want to do.

As for a step-parent adoption, it sounds like the biological father may be agreeable to having his parental rights terminated as part of that process.

You should contact a family law attorney in our area todos use your options.


If he was awarded time-sharing, then you have no legal basis to deny the time-sharing. However, his inconsistency in exercising his time-sharing may give you legal grounds to modify the time-sharing, and also child support. I would need more information about how the case, such as whether there are any prior orders, etc... You will need his permission for the step-parent adoption. Since he pays child support, you have little or no chance of having his parental rights terminated. If time-sharing has never been ordered, and the child was born out of wedlock, then you have more latitude. However, keep in mind that the Court considers parental alienation as one of the factors in a time-sharing case. You should, if at all possible, foster a relationship with his father. I understand the father is not reciprocating, but sometimes these issues get muddy during litigation, and he may start making allegations that the reason he hasn't been in the child's life more consistently is because you have not allowed it, or obstructed it. If that is his legal strategy, you are playing right into his hands by not allowing him to see his son. I'd start keeping a detailed log outlining any times he asked to see the child, and times you've allowed it. If you can't bring yourself to allow time-sharing, you may want to consider taking legal action as soon as possible.

The answers given by this attorney are for educational and information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice, nor are they intended to create attorney/client relationship. You should seek legal counsel in your area to get legal advice concerning your particular circumstances.


Force him to go to court an get his visitation rights set in stone and hold him to them. If he fails to visit then that is his loss. But consider what your son needs as well.

My name is Stephen R. Cohen and I have practiced over 38 years and can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practiced mainly in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. I am not seeking clients from existing relationships with other attorneys, and give only limited advise over the phone (the phone is primarily used to set appointments), these services do not create an attorney client relationship