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Automatic visitation?

My ex-husband has been absent from our children's lives for seven months now. Prior to that, he had sporadic telephone contact with them. The last time he saw them was February 2nd, 2010, and since I've had custody (I gained full custody in June of 2009) he hasn't paid a dime in child support. Contact was cut between him and the children on September 1st due to the fact that he was using heroin and would call the kids while he was high and either not talk to them at all or simply cry on the phone. A few weeks ago his parents called me to let me know that the kids great-grandmother (my ex-husbands grandma) was about to pass. Because my ex doesn't have contact with his parents, I decided to send him a short message on Facebook letting her know about her illness. He responded saying thank you, that he had contacted his parents, and that they had buried her the prior week. He then asks if there's any chance he could talk to the kids. I informed him that I would like nothing more than for him to be involved in the kids lives, but that he needed to show me that he wasn't using, and that he could maintain a regular schedule to call them (of his choice... be that once a day, once a week, every two weeks, etc). He responds saying that:


" It's almost amusing how you keep beating the same dead horse. You gave up the right to criticize my lifestyle when you walked out the door. You can't, legally, deny me access to the children. Please, I don't want to fight with you anymore.."

My question is... is he right? Is he automatically granted visitation without a court order? As it stands right now, he has no visitation in the custody arrangement. It actually makes no mention of visitation. It was, however, ordered that he needed to pay child support, which he's failed to do. Is it within my legal rights to deny him access to the children?

Answer Question

Asked by prinzesstephi at 8:20 PM on Mar. 16, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 12 (822 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • A call to CPS would answer some of your qustions with out getting it wrong.

    Answer by mandyandthree at 8:25 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I would say that if there is a chance he is using, he shouldn't be allowed to have access to the children. Also, with no mention of visitation in the custody agreement, I would think that you have the right to make that decision. I'd say that he is trying to make you feel this way by making you feel like he is still in control, when that couldn't be further from the truth. You need to be the one who keeps your children safe, since he doesn't seem to think about things like that.

    Answer by jenfitz42 at 8:27 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I won't be popular here BUT, you need to put all of your negative feelings aside that YOU have for your ex. He is the childrens father and needs to be presented to your children with respect. You can fight in private and talk bad about him to your friends NOT your children. Ya, he kinda sucks as a dad but he is not abusing them and your children LOVE thier daddy. Encouraging a relationship with him is what is best for your children. I am the product of divorced parents. I have seen many women use the children as a weapon against the fathers and also make life so miserable that they hardly see the kids because the mom can't hold her tongue. Take the high road and your children will become better adults for this.

    Answer by vampporcupine at 8:38 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I dont know what state u r in but .... you would have to take him to court for contempt on CS. He is entitled to see the child unless otherwise stated. look up the child support and visitation guidelines in your state.

    Answer by kkbird at 8:50 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Vampporcupine:
    I'm not fighting with him because of any personal differences he and I have. I really could care less about how he lives his life as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on the children. Right up to the point where he admitted that he was using, and then for several months after when he was allegedly "kicking", I encouraged contact, even calling him several times a day because the kids wanted to talk to him. However, it got to a point where the conversations that he was having with the kids were inappropriate (for example, crying on the phone with our three year old daughter talking about how he was sorry that he was a failure as a man and that he had "fucked up" so bad... she's three for God's sake!)... his conversations were impacting my older two children so much that my daughter was having bad dreams and my son was getting into fights at school.

    Comment by prinzesstephi (original poster) at 8:51 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • kkbird... he doesn't want to see the children. He's in Texas and we're in Washington. There's no set visitation schedule, and he's a known heroin user. I can't seem to find any information on electronic communication...

    Comment by prinzesstephi (original poster) at 8:58 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • If there is drug use involved, I think you have the right to keep him from his kids. You need to keep a log of his conversations and what he says and does. Talk to a judge if necessary. Good luck.


    Answer by krissyvelazquez at 9:05 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • You have full custody and he did not seek visitation if it is not in the court order and therefore you have the right to deny him visitation, you can tell him if he really wants to be a father he should have no problem proving himself to you and if he really wanted to he could file a modification and ask for visitation but he'd have to prove himself competent to the court.

    Answer by momof2inCT2007 at 9:17 PM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • have you looked into the skype thing??? since you both have a computer, maybe once a week he and the kids could do that face talk camera thing.??? Didn't realize he lived so far away. And I surely wouldnt just LET him take the kids overnight or anything like that.... with a past drug history..etc.

    Answer by kkbird at 12:26 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

  • The thing is that he *might* skype... but the biggest issue is his inconsistency... one week he might call all week... but there could be months where he doesn't call at all. He's promised them things (he told my son he'd send money for a book fair and never did, he promised to send lunch money, never did, he promised to buy school clothes, never did)... he just never follows through. The kids to him, in my opinion, are just kind of trophies. He actually told my SO that he's glad that the kids have him (SO) as a father figure because he (ex) wasn't cut out for this "daddy shit"... so him wanting contact? It's simply to stroke his ego, to show off an extension of himself.. not because he wants to help raise his children.

    Comment by prinzesstephi (original poster) at 12:40 AM on Mar. 17, 2011

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