Support and custody


#1

How will the following affect a requested change in visitation? Currently the father only has supervised visits an hour a week due to a (second) domestic violence conviction, but may request weekends.

We live several hours apart, and I pay a quarter of my income for gas to bring my child to the visits, which take place at the only visitation center in this part of the state.

He has not payed child support in three months, has not complied with an order to search for a job, failed to inform DSS of temporary employment at the beginning of the year. Support is scheduled to be recalculated at the beginning of next month, after being continued four times.

If he is unable to pay child support, unable to work consistently, and therefore cannot afford a crib or general supplies for the child (and besides lives in a studio apartment with little room for a crib), would he be allowed to have weekend visits? If I have to pay for gas and he does not pay child support to help, will that affect any proposed weekend visits?


#2

The court will not refuse him visitation based on his ability to pay support, however the court should require that he have a suitable place for the child to stay, and may also require that he travel to pick the child up.


#3

Thank you for that incredibly prompt reply!

So who decides what is suitable? Are there legal criteria, and who investigates?

Do I have any grounds for requesting that my child not begin unsupervised visits until she’s old enough to communicate about her safety? I want to be able to at least speak with her over the phone and make sure she’s okay, or make sure she can call me if she is uncomfortable and wants to come home.


#4

If you make a motion to bring your current issues before the court you will have the opportunity to present your evidence and question your ex about the environment the child will be in. If you can demonstrate the home is not safe a judge will not order the child to spend time there.
Given your ex’s history, and the current requirement that his visitation be supervised you certainly have grounds to request that the visitation remain supervised until he can demonstrate that he alone can provide a safe and suitable environment.