Q: What can i do, if my girlfriend, who just had my baby, wont let me see the child without her familys supervision?
A: You can continue in the current format or you can sue for custody and visitation. Hiring a local domestic relations attorney is advisable.
You could obtain custody and/or visitation rights by filing a Petition for Custody and a Petition for Visitation in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. While waiting for your court date, you may be able to work with the mother to obtain some form of agreed-upon visitation with your baby. The mother and/or her family may be worried that you don't know how to care for an infant. Their fears may be alleviated if you can show them that you know how to take care of the basic needs of an infant, including feeding, changing diapers, proper use of a car seat during tansportation, etc. The mother may agree to unsupervised visitation, while waiting for your court date, if you can show them that you know how to do these things. Infants are extremely fragile and human instinct often causes other family members to be afraid to turn the child over to the care of another, even if you are the father. If the mother will still not agree, then in court, you will need to show that you know how to care for the basic needs of an infant and that you are a competent, "fit" father. If you are able to hire an attorney, that would certainly be preferable to going it alone. But if you can't afford an attorney, it is certainly possible to represent yourself successfully, keeping in mind that you will need to show the court that custody and/or visition with you, the child's father, is in the best interest of the child. The general view of Virginia law is that a child is better off with a meaningful relationship with BOTH parents. Good luck to you and I hope you are able to spend quality time with your child as soon as possible.
Beth McCord Paleos
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