Inmate Father Granted Visitation Where Mother Interfered With Relationship

In a very interesting father's rights decision, a father who will be in jail until 2027 has visitation rights with his son, age 5, even though the child believes his step-father is his biological father.

The father was in jail when the child was born. The mother of the child acknowledged paternity by the biological father. When the father was out of jail for a brief period there was contact with the child but it was limited because of the "tumultuous" relationship between the parents which led to police intervention and orders of protection.

The father said that while in jail he tried to write to the child but stopped because the mother faked a threat note and forged his name to it. The mother allowed the child to think that her husband with whom she had 2 other children that had the husband's last name was the child's father even though his last name was that of the inmate father.

The court and the appeals court decided that the child is to receive counseling before weekly phone calls begin and that the mother is to bring the child to the jail four times per year for visitation. The court was clearly disturbed by the mother's deception to the child, mother's interference and the future harm to the child upon one day learning why his last name is different.

The child's attorney was against visitation as was the psychologist retained by the mother, but the court was not persuaded. This case is interesting because there are many cases that hold that if a child forms a relationship with a person that the child believes is the father and the "father" later finds out he is not the biological father, the court will not allow the non-biological father to end the relationship.

So the case described here is different because it was caused by the actions of the mother which prevented the child from knowing the truth.

Steven P. Kuhn, Attorney at Law
Suffolk County Divorce Lawyer
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Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776.
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