If a father moves out, what are his rights of visitation?

The husband moved out 6 months ago with the intent of not returning to the home; he signed a lease for an apartment. Is this considered a legal separation? The wife will only let him see his 6 year old son when she decides. He left due to irreconcilable differences. Can he see his son whenever he wants since there isn’t a written agreement?

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Family Law, North Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry or everyone in this situation.  As a basic rule here both parties need to be aware that they have equal rights to their child under the law, unless and until one of them gives up their rights voluntarily or a court orders otherwise.  And he should never ever sign any agreement regarding his rights unless and until an attorney reviews it and lets him know where he stands under the law.  His wife can not refuse him access to his child.  He needs to seek court help with this mater as soon as he can.  As for a legal separation, that is governed by the laws in your state and the case law. But generally a legal separation is one sanctioned by the courts or by written agreement.  Here he may have been considered to have abandoned the marital home.  Good luck.

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