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Non-Biological Father - Ex's Visitation or Custody of 2-Year-Old?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Amelia Thomas, 12 October 2014.

  1. Amelia Thomas

    Amelia Thomas Member

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    My ex and I have recently split after almost 2 years together ( separation), we were not married and I have a 25-month-old child from a previous relationship. Since splitting, my ex has decided that he would like visitation or partial custody of my child, of whom he has no biological link, and is now taking me to family law court over this issue.

    I am fearful of him being able to get visitation as this would mean that my child would have to visit this man for many years to come, just because I had dated him for a period of time. This also concerns me as my son's biological dad may in the future change his mind about not being a part of his life, which would cause further confusion for my son.

    My main concern is that the courts may rule in his favour and grant him some sort of visitation, as he will claim there is a relationship between the two of them. I am terrified that my son will now be divided between homes with a man of whom he has already forgotten about.

    Lawyers have told me that he is entitled to apply for visitation or partial custody as he has played a role in raising my son. I have heard of several cases in family law where non-biological fathers have gained custody of children but never for a child so young. Can anyone give me some guidance or shed some light on this for me?

    The concept of this happening terrifies me.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Amelia,

    This sounds like a ridiculous situation - I am sorry you are having to go through it.

    It is true that anyone concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child is entitled to seek orders for the child to spend time or communicate with them. This is provided for in s60B(2)(b) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), which says that children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development (such as grandparents and other relatives).

    Were you and your former partner living together at any stage? If so, how long for?
     
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  3. Amelia Thomas

    Amelia Thomas Member

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    Hi AllForHer,
    It is an incredibly disheartening situation to be in that is for sure. I am horrified that it is even a possibility for him to have access to my son after all of this. Unfortunately solicitors locally have told me that there is a more than likely chance that he will get visitation at minimum since we lived together for 22 months of my sons life. I am bewildered by this since the relationship was barely long-term (23 months in total), all i can think is what bar this would set if in the future i am in another relationship for 18 months, or another relationship for 3 years- i wonder if those individuals would also be able to gain visitation or seek time with my son.
    It seems unfair on my 2 year old to be pushed between homes like that - and certainly not in his best interests.
    Thankyou for your response.
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I would strongly suggest getting legal advice about this situation. Legal Aid can fund children's matters, so it would be worth your while to find out if you are eligible.

    Those are the same questions I raise about the relevance of a former partner to a child's care - is it in their best interests to potentially be exposed to an unknown number of potential father figures? What kind of precedent does that set? And what kind of complications will arise if the child's biological father later matures and wants to be a part of his son's life? What if you plan to marry in future?

    I really hope things work out for you. You seem like your head is screwed on - you're considering the future, not just the now. Courts can see through a party that is just acting out of vindication, but please see if you can get Legal Aid funding so a solicitor can give you more direction for your case.
     
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  5. Amelia Thomas

    Amelia Thomas Member

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    I am certainly glad that someone else is able to see my perspective on the situation, it's always so delicate to deal with anything involving a relationship breakdown and children; and im finding the legal side of things somewhat bewildering. Since he initiated legal action i have to wait for mediators to contact me on the next steps so i will certainly give legal aid a call in the meantime for some more insight and advice. My only focus out of this situation is to have my child be in a stable and nurturing environment- which i believe i am very much providing. It is so difficult to know for certain what the courts will decide, as i have been told that it can be completely unpredictable; but i certainly pray that they can understand that a future for a child should be one of stability, so dividing him between potentially multiple homes would be significantly more detrimental. I would be horrified if i heard a precedent existed which allowed this to be normalized, i am completely open to blended families but a child could end up being torn between many, many homes because of this. Its disheartening but i am trying to remain hopeful that my love for my son will break through this mess.
    Again, thankyou very much for your reply.
     

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