Father Wants to Take Son On Own, Mother Wants to Supervise Visitation

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“I have a question regarding what I can and can’t do with my infant son. My child’s father and I have no custody orders, and he only comes to see our son when the mood strikes him. I don’t mind if he visits in my home but he has recently asked to take our son, but does not feel he needs to tell me where he is going with him or when he is coming back. I do not agree with this especially given the fact that the home he lives in has an alcoholic in it. I also feel that if he had a genuine interest in the child he would see him more than he does, given the fact that we live in the same town and he is unemployed. I have paid everything for our son with no help from the father, but I don’t want to go to court because he would fight me for visitation, and I do not feel he is capable of taking care of our son without supervision. If you could please tell me what would be the best course of action for me to take I would greatly appreciate it.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The reality is that with a visitation schedule in place, your child’s father would need to return your son to your care at a certain time. However the law generally does not require him to tell you where he will be during his time with the child who is both your son, and his son as well.

It sounds as if you are having a hard time letting go and allowing your son to be out of your sight with his father, and that’s understandable, but please don’t make your issue your son’s issue. You will need to co-parent with your son’s father one way or another for the next eighteen years, at least, and your son needs you to set the example and foster a good relationship with his father early on. He may not be the ideal father – he may not even in retrospect be the father you would have picked for your son – but he is the only biological father he will ever have, and he needs to know him, and have a relationship with him. The steps you take and decisions you make now about your son’s relationship with his father are going to have long-reaching affects on your son. You can help him avoid delinquency, crime, gangs and drugs by doing everything you can to enable a working relationship between your son and his father, and between yourself and your son’s father.

If you feel that your son’s father isn’t stepping up to the plate, talk to him about it and explain (in matter-of-fact, not accusatory, tones) your concerns. If you can’t have these sorts of conversations with him easily, suggest co-parent counselling. But bare in mind that it is quite likely that without meaning to, the restrictions you have set (allowing him only to see your child in your home, in your territory, on your terms) have contributed to what you see as his lack of involvement.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
Putting Kids First: Walking Away From A Marriage Without Walking Over The Kids

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"