Consult with an experienced family law attorney, provide them with a complete factual/historical picture and together you'll decide whether it's worth your time/money to file a petition to remove a guardian.
There is a lot going on here. First, just because you pay child support does not guarantee visitation. They are two separate issues. It is not clear who the guardians are - your headline implies the child's father but the question implies someone else. However, that is not critical - at some point the court deemed you unfit enough to grant guardianship to someone else. Your first step is to have addressed those issues that led to that decision. Unless they have been addressed, corrected and/oror reversed, you will not be successful in ending the guardianship and re-gaining custody. So I hope you have your situation together. As for visitation separate from the issue of custody, the guardian calls the shots if no visitation was previously ordered by the court. So, you will want to file a motion or modification with the court seeking visitation - what it appears you are looking for is unsupervised at your home. You will have to convince the judge you are fit for that and that it is in your daughter's best interest. remember that ultimately, the judge will decide by what is in the best interest of the child, and not of you or the guardian. The room sharing sounds bad, but that by itself doesn't get you custody back if the issues that led to the guardianship haven't been fixed. It could me someone completely new is made guardian. At 12, your daughter may be heard - you should ask for a family service interview of her so her wishes can be heard, but they will not be the deciding factor. Good luck.
I'm sorry you are going through what appears to be a tough situation. First things first: child support and custody-visitation matters need to be separated in your mind. We can't "buy" our time with children, as the hallmark principle is what is in "the best interest" of the children. As to the relationship between you and the guardians, as difficult as this must be, we have to think about what is in the "best interest" of your daughter. I can't fathom a 12 year-old girl having to share a room with a boy (you haven't mentioned his age), but there must be better living arrangements than that. If I were you, I would build a campaign based on why you have a better situation for your daughter...schooling, after-school care, environment, etc. and get to court for more time. Start with supervised, then unsupervised visitation, overnights, and build from there. You may need to consult with a lawyer for more specifics and a solid plan. Good luck.
I am unclear as to how you lost custody of your child. Was DCF involved? and Who are the guardians?
A guardianship is generally created due to the unfitness of the parent, so my question is what was the unfitness and does it impact your relationship with the guardians. Also, does the "unfitness" continue to this date? I am unclear why the guardians are giving you a hard time...are they related to you and is there "history" here?
If you are currently "fit". you should get back into court to request visitation through a modification (if there is nothing in writing or if there is something written that allows visits, to enforce it).
At 12, the court will want to hear from the child, but her wishes are not the controlling factor. You may request the court to appoint a guardian ad litem or een an attorney for the child to make sure her rights are protected.
Valerie Semenst @ 781.383.1940
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