If my son’s father just filed for custody and I allow him to take our son on the weekends, should I not let my son go over to his home until the court date?.

I am now scared to let him go because I am afraid he will not give my son back to me. I’m waiting on legal aid to respond to me to see if they will represent me in this matter. We were never married.

Asked on September 6, 2012 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It really depends on whether or not there are orders in place that guide when and how custody exchanges are to take place.  You have a legitimate fear in letting your son go and risk him not being returned.  It doesn't happen all of the time, but some family law attorneys actually encourage one parent to keep a child from another parent to get the upper hand in a custody matter.  At the same time though, you don't want to appear manipulative or discouraging of the relationship with the child and the parent.  While you are waiting on legal aid to get back to you, why don't you suggest that he come and have visits as much as practical at your home or a neutral location like McDonalds or a park.  Tell him you'll be more comfortable with overnight visitations once you have formal orders in place.  Do it politely and calmly--- if he gets agitated, suggest that he have his attorney present a set of temporary orders to you to review so that ya'll can get some rules in place quicker-- especially since he's the one that has started the legal proceedings. The offer to liberal visits and the offer to get temporary orders in place show the judge that you are interested in trying to resolve the custody issues and encourage visitation-- and that your interests are not in using the child as a pawn.


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