What can I do if my ex-girlfriend has full custody of my daughter and she’s keeping her away from me?

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What can I do if my ex-girlfriend has full custody of my daughter and she’s keeping her away from me?

She has had 3 children removed from her – 2 by her babies’ fathers and 1 by CPS. Yet, some how CPS has given her full custody of my daughter. I have gone to family court and they only allowed me to see her for 2 hours once a month. I have a 15 year old son who I raised on my own but still they have a given my ex full on custody.

Asked on July 3, 2015 under Family Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Frankly, I don't know why a woman with this history was given full custody either, unless there is something in your background such that the court does not want you to have it. You really need to directly contact an attorney who specializes in custody cases.

As a general matter of information, a denial of visitation rights by the custodial parent to a non-custodial parent is illegal. This is true if the custody arrangement was court ordered or even if the parents have a greed to a schedule outside of court. This is because visitation rights are taken seriously by the courts. It is generally believed that visitation is in the "best interest of the child" to spend time with both parents. Consequently, child visitation rights can rarely, if ever, be legally denied by the custodial parent. Additionally, nonpayment of child support does not give a custodial parent a legitimate reason for denying the non-custodial parent their visitation.

When a non-custodial parent is repeatedly denied visits with their child, it is important that the parent document each denial. A good way to document a denial of visitation rights is to file a police report. A custodial parent who denies the noncustodial parent visitation rights may be held in contempt of court, and be fined and/or jailed. If the custodial parent has been found to be in contempt, the court may give the non-custodial parent more visitation or give them full custody.

Note: If the custodial parent suspects that the non-custodial parent is abusing the child or putting the child in danger, then the custodial parent should report this immediately to get the current visitation rights changed. In emergency situations (e.g. the non-custodial parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs), the custodial parent should call the police.


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