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06 Feb 2004

Visitation rights-is there anyone who can help??
Hi there,
I have been with my fiance for 4 years. My fiances ex girlfriend had a child with him 6 years ago (a beautiful boy) They broke up because she was unfaithful & she got married & moved away-taking his son with them & introducing the husband as his real father! She never told him where she was going & he lost contact with his son although he tried desperatly to look for him. She showed up on his doorstep with their child (And the child from her marriage) saying he could get to know his son again now because she was divorcing her husband. She wasn't impressed to find out that my fiance & I were engaged & for the whole month she allowed my fiance to see his son she refused to let me participate in any family outings-she kept changing the dates or showing up with the kids when I was not home & leaving when I arrived. I was there when she invited my fiance to a new years eve party & said that she would introduce him as his sons real father that nite. He turned to me & asked if I had other plans for us for new years & I said no-lets go to her place-To which she replied-"Sorry, you're not invited-my son needs a father not another mommy" Needless to say my fiance told her in no uncertain terms that if she was thinking they were going to get back together & play mommy & daddy then she was mistaken & if she is using their son as a pawn to get what she wants instead of putting their sons wellbeing first then he wants nothing to do with her & he would rather she let their son come over for weekends alone with him. She said she would get back to us on that. We tried to contact her again a week later & a man answered her phone saying she wasn't home. Later we decided to just go to her house & speak to her in person-only to discover she had skipped town. When we got back to his place & told his sister what happened she phoned her &b shouted at her, asking how could she bring my finaces son back into his life & then take him out of his life again & asked her how could she be so selfish(she also called her a few unmentionable words) My fiances ex replied that my fiance would have no further contact with their son until his siter apologises for hwat she has said. As far as I am concerned my fiances sisters opinion about her has nothing to do with the relationship between my fiance & his son. Does she have any rights to keep him away from his child because she is upset with his sister? Is this right???
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

ISO, this sounds extraordinarily similar to another question i have answered recently -- Are you sure you haven't posted it before ? If not, do please check the archives of this column, and compare questions, and answers.
The biological father has rights which the mother cannot take away from him, and the law has recently improved in this respect. See a lawyer, maybe also someone at the maistrate's courts / family advocates. for specific advice on how he should be able to re-assert his rights ( which he must emphasize he NEVER gave up, though she deprived him of them ) and have them required by a court order.
The courts must decide these things in terms of what's best for the child, and not acording to the mother's wishes to be malicious. If it can be established before the court that she has indeed behaved as irresponsibly and cruelly as you describe, the court may well question HER fitness to have acess to the child, rather than the boy's father's.
And if your fiancee did not sign papers authorizing an adoption of the child, the mother could be in some trouble if she has made false statements to this effect.
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