First off I’d like to say that I am terribly sorry that you are in this situation. I don’t know that I can answer all these questions but I would like to let you know two things.
One, you are the child’s father and the mother can not legally keep her away from you unless your parental rights have been removed or the court has not allowed visitations. You have a right to see your child regardless of whether or not you have paid child support. This is true for any state. Get together all the information you have. Any copies of the papers for paternity, the refusal of child support, any communications you have had from her since your daughter was born. Videos (possibly) or pictures. Try to remeber dates of visits or any time that visits were promised and write them down.
You will want to have access to all of this information for court in case something comes up.
Two, you really should reconsider consulting with an attorney. I know that you posted you could not afford one, but with this situation, can you really afford not to have one? Consultation fees are minimal if you are looking at the overall outcome of this.
As far as getting witnesses to court, you would need to subpeonae them, but since the attorney did all this for my husband I am not sure how you do this on your own…maybe one of the others know.
You do not have to have a visitation schedule already in place before mediation. Mediation is normally utilized to work out disagreements of visitations and custody, not to get visitations…the court will not be pleased that your child has been kept from you.
You should contact the mother and request a visit, and make a record of that. Since it’s been over 3 years this is going to be difficult because your daughter, while she may have missed her father, probably does not remember you. If she was only 3 years old when you saw her last, then you would be a stranger to her. Realistically, the court will do whatever is in the best interest of the child, thought that may not be the answer you want to hear…I’m not suggesting that you do not try to get visitations with her, I’m only suggesting that you be patient and think about the impact this could have on her. What if the mother hasn’t spoken of you or even told her that you are her father? What if the mother has told her that you didn’t want to ever see her? This potentially could be a traumatic event for her and I can tell that you do not want that…
Please reconsider consulting an attorney and keep us posted. I will keep you in my thoughts.