i have seen my kids every other week for the past 3 years. we had one incident happen. kids were awake while gf was asleep for 30min, and they had woken up before that. We now have a sitter lined up so that situation cannot happen again. What can we do?
If you are being denied access to your children you will want to consider getting a formal custody schedule. Without it you have no legal protection if mom doesn't want to let you see the children, as you likely have no legal custody rights. You will want to talk to an attorney immediately about that. See the links below for more information on the child custody process.
For a free consult call 612-269-1902
The short answer is "likely, no."
Absent a court order defining a parenting schedule, the law provides no preferential treatment for the right of either parent. That's not the same as saying everything the other parent does is appropriate--and denying access to children, particularly with a well-practiced schedule of three years in place, certain isn't--but it does mean that law enforcement, with very few exceptions, will not be able to help you, if or when needed.
Creating a court-approved custody and parenting time (aka, "visitation) schedule establishes the rights of each parent in relation to one-another. You can start the filing on your own by accessing the "forms" section of the state court website, but I would strongly recommend discussing your options with an attorney before filing.
Good luck, and I hope you and your children will be reunited soon!
If the parents were not married, by default, the mother is the custodial parent and the father would have no enforceable parenting rights until they are established by a court. Agreements that are not memorialized as a court order are unenforceable. In other words, you must act to have enforceable rights to custody and/or parenting time.
If a man is not married to a child's mother when the child is born, he can become the "legal" father through the "Recognition of Parentage" (ROP) process or by Court Order. However, such an adjudication still bestows no custody or parenting time rights on the father. To get a Court Order establishing paternity and establishing custody or parenting time, the father must commence an action for paternity, or where paternity is established, for custody and parenting time, in the local District Court of the county where the child lives. In the end, the longer a father waits to establish custody and parenting time, the more difficult seeking a reasonable custody resolution and/or parenting schedule may become.
If the matter cannot be resolved by agreement, Courts make custody determinations based on what the court believes is in the child's best interests. The court will consider any relevant facts in making a custody determination including 13 specific factors outlined in Minnesota Statutes. Your case should be carefully framed to address each of the relevant statutory factors to be effective.
I have over 20 years of experience in litigating custody and parenting time issues in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
To discuss retaining a lawyer, please call 612.240.8005.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this email message creates an attorney client relationship absent a retainer agreement with this office. Any response to email inquiries should be considered general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should always consult a lawyer in your state regarding your specific legal matter. Visit online at http://www.minnesotaLawyers.com
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