A recent Avvo post caught my eye, as the issue raised by the mother is one often misunderstood:
Can a father who owes $25,000 in child support see his child even though he has been absent for 12 years? The biological father of my child is seeking visitation, but has never paid child support although there is a court order, and my daughter does not want to see him.
Support and visitation are supposed to be separate issues. That said, 25k is a lot, and I expect that a judge would certainly ask what the father is doing in that department. The age of the child is the most important issue here. The child does have a say in things, but the weight of that is relatively minimal. That is, until it’s just about dispositive after 16. Anyone involved in such a situation should seek the advice of a local attorney.
A divorced woman posted on Avvo recently:
My ex-husband is trying to have my daughter go out of state with his girlfriend’s mom and pick her up the next day so that his girlfriend can go to the dentist. According to the parenting plan, if a parent requires child care by a person who does not reside in the home for a period to last longer than four hours, then they have to offer the other parent the opportunity to parent the child during that time. What can I do legally? Can I involve the police if this person takes my child? He is also refusing to give me any contact information for this person.
I responded to the woman that I would certainly memorialize these concerns via e-mail prior to the ex-husband’s actions – especially the lack of contact information and the leaving the state. She should call the police if she has specific concerns about this person (i.e., violent history or sexual offender). Otherwise, I suggested threatening a contempt motion and making good on your threat. (And checking in with an attorney in her area as to the specifics, especially as a contempt finding would gain her fees paid.)
A distraught grandmother recently asked on Avvo where to turn when allegations of abuse are not being considered in a custody case:
My grandchildren are going through a custody case with the Division of Child, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and a Guardian ad Litem involved. Neither are doing their job. I am fearful of where my grandchildren are. No one wants to listen to crucial facts that are important to the well-being of my grandchildren. I have tried to contact DCYF myself and have spoken to the GAL. The GAL feels that the father’s attempted suicides, and physical and emotional abuse, as well as his drug abuse and past criminal record, have no bearings on the case. How can you erase seven years in three months? The new wife took food out of the trash and shoved it in my three-year-old’s mouth and forced it down her throat. Shoes have been thrown at the back of my four-year-old’s head. The four-year-old has diabetes and [the condition is worsening due to dietary issues]…
This woman does have a number of options.