Frequently Asked Questions

My girlfriend and I had a baby. I've paid support regularly but haven't seen my child in six years. Is visitation possible?

You can probably get some visitation, but don't expect the court to fall at your feet after 6 years of no contact. The only reasonable way you could justify this to the court would be if the mother has prevented you from seeing the child.

You can work to establish visitation, but chances are it will need to be "phased in" gradually over time and also possibly supervised for a while. You'll need to find out what parenting time is available to you right now (if any) and work from there. You should also probably consult with an attorney to see what your best plan of action would be.

Don't expect the child to accept you easily, especially in the beginning. Like it or not, you are a virtual stranger to him or her, no different than anyone else. Go slow, don't push, and understand that this may be very uncomfortable and bewildering to the child at first. You may want to consider contacting a therapist to learn how best to go about reestablishing your relationship with your child.

You should also examine your reason(s) for wanting to become part of the child's life again. If you can't commit to being a long-term, stable parent, you could be doing more harm than good. Bouncing in and back out of a child's life can be devastating for them, so make certain your commitment to being a parent is sincere, and that your motivation comes for their best interests, not yours.