Today, in court, my visitation was reduced from 16 hours per week to 16 hours every other weekend. I am an unwed father, who has assumed responsibility since my ex-girlfriend was 2 months pregnant. I initiated a swab dna test when my son was 12 hours old. My girlfriend took our son out of our home when he was 14 days old and moved in with her mother, because I wouldn't marry her. The birth occurred in Dec. 2011. We weren't together when he was conceived and it certainly didn't seem prudent to marry her immediately after giving birth to our son. She was enraged and refused me any visitation. After several weeks I was forced to petition the court for visitation and proposed child support. This occurred in Feb. 2012. Our case was heard in late March, and I was granted 16 hours "supervised" visitation per week. Supervised because she fabricated horrific things about me and my lifestyle in her response to my petition. I was told I had "no choice but to accept supervised visitation, as did she, due to the baby's age". In June, when he was 6 1/2 months old she announced that she was engaged to an old flame/family friend and they were married 3 weeks later. She petitioned the court to move the baby four hours away to be with her new husband. In court today, I was admonished by the court, that I didn't prove that her marriage was an attempt to usurp our visitation, and because she had established herself as the primary caregiver (by withholding my son from me while I attempted to move the slow wheel of justice), therefore the court would allow the move.... ready for this: "so she could start her life with her new husband". Due to the distance, visitation would now be every other weekend, and due to the baby's age, would only occur for 8 hours per day Sat & Sun. In addition, I will eventually (beginning March 2013) have to provide half the transportation. I am the only one of us that work (I work full time and go to school two nights per week). I told the court that when she moved out, she left two current anti-psychotic prescriptions in our apartment. Also, we had to contact law enforcement on my 2nd visitation because she attacked my mother while she was holding the baby (bit and scratched her and the baby). The police detective recommended the D.A. bring about battery charges, but the D.A. declined due to her age and no priors (she is 20). The commissioner stated that this was likely just poor judgment on her part and since she didn't have any priors, he refused to order minors counsel so we could have her past mental issues divulged. Believe me, I have divulged everything the court read on our case. How is it that my child's mother can control my life and our child's life, without any concern for my rights? I am in shock and severely depressed that my son can so easily be taken from me.
Country relating to Question: United StatesState (if USA): CaliforniaWhat have you tried so far?: peitioned to court for Joint Physical Custody and to set child support.
Good afternoon,I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.Your question about how the mother can control your life and that of the child, appears to be rhetorical in nature, and not calculated to seek any legal answers that would be of use to you. The law is what it is, and the judges get to set visitation. Is there something that I can answer for you?Doug
As an expert, how did this happen?
Good afternoon,It happened because with infants, this is often the sort of visitation which is ordered---limited in terms of frequency and duration, and no overnight visits yet.While the frequency of the visitation you have been awarded is not optimum, it is caused in great part by you being distant from where your child resides. If you move closer, you will almost certainly qualify for more frequent visitation.Here is a good discussion of healthy visitation time for infants---refer to page 4:
I may be to vague in my phrasing, but I supplied you with the reduced visitation hours, from weekly to every other week, due to our new proximity of 4 hours distance. I am asking how this can legally happen. I am aware a judge can do whatever he/she wants, but within the limits of the law, right? Don't fathers (even single ones) have rights which keep mothers from marrying (hastily at least) and moving the child away? I'm looking for legal precedent!
Good afternoon,I'm sorry for any confusion. You are not being vague---I do understand your question, and I did try to explain to you how it can legally happen, in my very first comment to you when I suggested that---the law allows it. The law grants each judge the right to exercise discretion in setting visitation schedules.I think that you misunderstand the concept of judicial discretion. Discretion is not allowed "within the limits of some law". It is simply granted---it is a judgment call. If you want to attack the discretion of the judge, the only way that the law allows you to do that is by seeking either Reconsideration by the court (requires that you file a Motion for Reconsideration), or you file an appeal of the judge's order. Discretion is left to the judge, and if you appeal, the appellate court will determine if there has been an abuse of discretion---but there is nowhere in the law, anything in black and white which sets out minimum and maximum degrees of discretion in terms of visitation.I hope that you found my answer to be informative, that you will rate my efforts based on the knowledge and law I have provided to you, and that you recognize that I have no control over whether the law provides the result you are hoping for.I wish you the best in 2012.Doug
27+ years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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