How to Stop Visitation Rights by the Biological Father in the State of Kentucky

By Brenna Davis

All states require that custody decisions be made according to a child's best interests. Kentucky is one of only a handful of states that specifically itemizes factors judges should consider, including the emotional and physical health of each parent, the child's relationship with each parent, and any history of domestic violence. To sever visitation rights, you must demonstrate that doing so is in the child's best interests.

Visitation Denial

If a father was unmarried to the child's mother at the time of the child's birth, Kentucky law states that he is not the child's legal father. He has no rights to visitation and the mother may deny visitation until paternity is established. Mothers should not deny visitation to legal fathers until a judge issues an order severing visitation rights, however. Denying visitation when there is a custody order in place authorizing visitation may constitute contempt.

Visitation Modification Petition

To modify an existing visitation order, you must petition for a visitation modification. Kentucky family courts have jurisdiction over custody cases, and you should file your petition in the same court in which the original custody order was issued. Complete the petition, then pay the filing fee and return it to the clerk. You must serve the father with a copy of the petition. In most counties, the clerk will provide you with a service of process form to have the sheriff serve the father, but in some counties you must serve the father yourself. The clerk will schedule the petition for a hearing; the hearing is typically scheduled within 60 days of the filing.

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Hearing

Prior to the hearing, the judge may order that you and your child's father attend mediation or may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child's best interests. If mediation fails, there will be a hearing. Kentucky law only permits visitation modifications if there has been a change in the child's circumstances, and you must demonstrate such change. Material changes might include a newly discovered addiction or abuse, one parent's move or a change in the parent's mental health. You must also demonstrate why the requested change is in your child's best interests.

Evidence and Witnesses

You may call witnesses and submit evidence at the hearing. If a person has witnessed, for example, your ex abusing your child, they may be a good witness. You should also submit any evidence indicating that your ex is unfit or that there has been a substantial change in his parenting competence. Emails, text messages, online postings, arrest records and similar documentation is admissible in Kentucky.

Judge's Order

After hearing evidence from each side, the judge will issue an order. If visitation is revoked, it may be temporarily revoked. The judge may add provisions allowing the father to seek visitation again if he, for example, gets counseling, changes his living arrangements or goes to drug rehabilitation. It is very rare for visitation to be permanently revoked the first time a custodial parent requests it. The judge may also order supervised visitation during which the father may see the child while being monitored by a court-appointed neutral third party. This ensures that the child is safe while preserving her relationship with her father.

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Father's Procedure in Filing for Child Custody in Missouri

References

Related articles

How to File for Visitation Rights in Nevada

Nevada, like all other states, uses the "best interests of the child" standard in determining child custody and visitation. Nevada state law is explicit in protecting both parents' rights to their children and judges almost always grant visitation to the non-custodial parent. When parents divorce, state law requires that each parent file a parenting plan with their divorce pleadings. However, when parents were never married, the mother may retain custody of the children until the father seeks visitation.

Grounds for Denying Visitation Rights

Although state courts are increasingly moving toward joint custody arrangements after divorce, the old standard of one parent having physical custody and the other having visitation still exists. This is particularly true while your divorce is still pending and if one parent has moved out of the marital home – judges don't like to upset a child's status quo unnecessarily, so the parent who moves out might end up with visitation rather than joint custody until the divorce is final. Under some circumstances, a court might deny visitation, but a custodial parent can't do so on her own.

Laws on False Paternity

DNA testing is increasingly common and accurate, increasing many people's awareness that the purported father of a child is not always the child's biological father. Legal paternity is the recognition by the government that a man is a child's father. False paternity occurs when a man is inaccurately represented as the child's father, which may be due to an inadvertent error or deliberate misrepresentation. Paternity laws are similar in each state, but each state has minor variations, so consult local laws before pursuing a paternity action.

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