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Father pays support but has no relationship with child

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by Jamie121722, May 15, 2022.

  1. Jamie121722

    Jamie121722 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My fiancé filed for paternity so he could have rights to child. They had gotten pregnant early in their relationship and they broke up prior to birth. My fiancé’s father committed suicide when he was 16 which led to him dropping out of school. He was 21 and she was 25 years old. I was friends with my fiancé back then and I remember how excited he was to be a dad.

    She and her parents didn’t want him involved at all in his child’s life and they had money for a really good attorney and he didn’t. They did everything possible to keep him from his child including making up false accusations. She claimed that he had alcohol and drug problems which he didn’t and paid for random drug testing to prove it. He passed with no problems.

    She had been convicted of two drinking and driving’s and hit him in front of witnesses prior to their baby being born. Police wouldn’t press charges.

    She was determined to keep his son from him and during a baby shower put on by his family, her family started an altercation and they tried to take everything purchased by his family for their son to their home. His family became upset because some of the things were purchased for my fiancé to have at his home for the child.

    Her parents during the baby shower told him he didn’t even know if he’d be able to see his child. They denied him to see his child after birth and so he applied for paternity testing and tried to get rights to see his child through the court. He didn’t have much money for an attorney but he paid for one the first time he went to court but the attorney he hired wasn’t very helpful to him so he decided it was too expensive and he would try to represent himself.

    He was given 12 supervised visits at the mom's home with her parents. He always showed up but the parents would interfere with his visits and often say very hurtful things while he was there. They made him feel like a loser. He went back to the court and asked for the visits to be at their facility so he was able to do them at the friend of the court with a stranger. At the end of the 12 visits, he asked now what. He was told it was up to the mom if he could see him after that and if she said no then he could apply for more after 12 months.

    We are told by an attorney recently that this never should have happened and he should have been able to get unsupervised visits after that since he did everything he was supposed to. However he didn’t know that and he felt very hopeless to be apart of his sons life. He was constantly made to feel unworthy and it was clear they didn’t want him involved but they did want his money. He had paid child support since then. The child is 11 years old and doesn’t know his father.

    My fiancé was uneducated on the court system, he didn’t understand what was within his rights to be able to do about it. He gave up and started to think maybe he was a loser and the child would be better without him. He felt hopeless at being able to have a relationship with his child and to be able to convince the mom and her parents that he wasn’t a loser and deserved a chance for his son to know him.

    Anyways she recently requested a review for child support which increased it to 700 a month which opened up old wounds. He pays his child support and we understand his financial responsibilities but the fact she wants more money but is content to keep him out of the picture. It’s his fault for not going back to court.

    I wonder if other men feel as hopeless as he did. I knew him back then and the court system was very intimidating and confusing. It was apparent that he wanted a relationship when he filed for paternity and to try to get parenting time but lost hope. We went to an attorney recently to see about reuniting him and requesting parenting time but his son is 11 and doesn’t know him. The attorney basically said the court could decide it’s not in the sons best interests for him to meet his dad after 11 years. He’s grown up without a father and he’s a stranger so they would have him talk to a counselor and decide if it’s in his best interests. If they decide it is then the attorney said it’ll be a long time before he would get to bring the child to his home and have unsupervised visits.

    We understand because he’s a stranger. We are very conflicted on whether we would be doing more harm to the child. He is just sad about the situation and wishes he could go back and ask more questions back then and wishes he would have known what he knows now.

    My fiancé ended up going back to school, he has a good job and a nice home. We are trying to have a child together and getting married soon. I know my fiancé would have been a good dad and I know that he is sad he has a son that doesn’t know him. We didn’t retain the attorney we had a consultation with and left feeling hopeless. It shouldn’t be this difficult for someone to have a relationship. I feel his lack of understanding, lack of support and limited income made it difficult for him to be in the picture against the mother’s wishes.

    What options does he have, is it in the child’s best interests? I know we can’t undo what happened but wish there was something good that could come from it. Maybe even helping shed light on his experience and preventing it from happening to other fathers in our area.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2022
  2. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

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    There is no WE in this issue. Your friend has had 11 years to get this straighten out. Out of the millions of males in this world you choose make a baby, get married with him. It's suppose to be get married, have a family. This guy needs a lawyer to get this straighten out... but he has had 11 years already... Good luck
    Red Kayak likes this.
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Especially marry first, then have baby.
    army judge and Red Kayak like this.
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You were told above that there is no "we", and I won't harp on that.

    He has the option to go to court and establish his rights to be involved in his son's life.
    Whether or not this is in the child's best interest is (1) not a legal question and (2) not answerable by random strangers on the internet.

    He should expect to have a period of reacquaintance with his son, followed by a more "normal" visitation schedule.

    He should expect to explain why he's waited 11 years to move forward with a relationship with his son that it's not his new love interest that is driving his desire to see his son, whether that be for financial or emotional reasons.

    He should also expect to pay for court ordered individual and family counseling with his son. You may ask why he should have to pay for the counseling (or why he should have to pay the full amount). The answer to that is that he had 11 years to do this and, during that time, he accomplished 12 supervised visits and then gave up. THAT is why he should have to, and likely will have to, pay for the counseling.

    As a side note, $700 per month in child support is not an insignificant amount and must be based on a decent income for him.
  5. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    There's no "we" there's he and the mother. That's legally all who is involved. Child support and visitation are two separate things. Him paying or even not paying child support has no bearing on visitation.

    It sounds like he chose not to try to get a better parenting plan in place. I don't buy the "he was uneducated on the court system" excuse. If he truly wanted to be in his child's life, he should have done everything he could to educate himself on the system and what he needed to do to get a better parenting plan/visitation schedule. It honestly sounds like he was being lazy. He didn't need to convince the mom or her parents (who also are legally not involved in this situation unless they have some kind of custody or guardianship).

    Again child support and visitation are two separate things. If he's making more money, she can request an increase in child support.

    Ah now I see the question at the very end. What are his options? He needs to retain a family law attorney who can help him with the specifics of his case and figure that out with him.

    I don't agree with the "get married first then have a baby" comments which have nothing to do with this at all. Marriage doesn't guarantee a stable family dynamic at all...but in 11 years he doesn't sound like he tried at all.
    Zigner likes this.

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