Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.In all cases where a child is born to unmarried parents, it's important to establish "paternity," which refers to the legal relationship between a father and his child. In West Virginia, paternity is what gives a father the right to request custody and visitation with his child.West Virginia allows parents to establish paternity when the mother and father sign a “Notarized Affidavit of Paternity.” The notarized affidavit should list both parents’ social security numbers, addresses, and should state that both parents acknowledge paternity. The affidavit should also state that both parents understand the rights and obligations of paternity as well as the alternatives to acknowledging paternity. Once the original notarized affidavit of paternity is filed with the State Registrar, paternity has been established. It sounds like this was done.While the mother could voluntarily give him visitation at this point, since she is denying it, your son should file a "Petition for Support and Allocation of Custodial Responsibility." The West Virginia Courts do have the necessary forms and instructions online should he not have or want a lawyer. It's not required that he have one. The first link is to the instructions, he can find the forms here.
With something as important as custody and visitation, my personal recommendation is that he at least have a consultation with a family lawyer before doing anything. After filing the forms, a hearing on the matter will need to be held, yes. As a general rule, non-custodial parents are awarded at least some visitation --it is extremely rare that a parent would be denied unless the child was at risk with them (e.g., the parent had a criminal history of child abuse). Also, so he knows, visitation and child support are considered separate matters, in the sense that even if he were to fall behind on support, she is still obligated to give him his visitation time. Courts consider that too important to a child's upbringing to allow withholding of visitation if support isn't paid.
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