Dad wants to see his son

All Woman

DEAR MRS MACAULAY,
I am writing to seek some direction regarding seeing my child. My babymother and I broke up just after our son was born and I made sure I was there to visit him regularly. I ensured that he was not out of anything no matter what it took to provide.

Now she has threatened to keep him away from me, all because I asked her to take him to see my mother. Her excuse was that our son goes nowhere without her.

I love my son and I want to ensure that I am a part of his life and she now refuses to take anything from me.

I know that I messed up and things did not work out with us, but I just want to ensure that I am a part of his life. So what actions can I take to ensure that I get the rights to see my child?

You have a legal right to have access to your child and your child also has a legal right to have access to you.

You have asked what steps you can take to ensure that you have access to your son, and the answer to this is that you must go to the office at the Family Court in your area and have them prepare, on your behalf, your application for a declaration of your paternity, joint custody of your son, and residential access (this means that it is ordered that your son spends time with you, in your home, for example every other weekend). You should also ask that your contribution towards his maintenance be fixed and ordered by the court.

You should apply first for certified copies of your son's birth certificate. I suggest two copies so that you have one for yourself and the other one to take to the Family Court. It is needed for them to be able to do and complete your application. I have assumed that you are not named in your son's birth records, and so I have suggested that you apply for a declaration of paternity and so you must be prepared to obtain an order of the court to have a DNA test done. I would strongly urge you to apply for this test to be done anyway, to make assurance doubly sure. Such orders are made everyday by the courts to ensure and prove paternity issues. Even if your name and particulars are in the birth records, you may still need to have a DNA test ordered if the mother ever claims that you are not the father of the child. If this happens, just continue to proceed with your application as is your right to do.

It is important that you obtain the court declaration and orders which I have suggested because since she has threatened to stop your current access, they will be the only guarantee that she has no power to ever do so again or actually prevent your access in the future.

I have suggested that you apply for residential access (but only if you want this and have facilities to accommodate your son), so that you both can really build a relationship. This is very important for your son's welfare and it is in the best interests of your child to have a close bond with his father. It is also his right and in his best interests to meet and get to know his paternal grandparents and relatives. Meeting your mother ought not to be denied him.

So please do the right thing and go to the Family Court and get and protect the rights of both your son and yourself to have a father and son relationship without any threats from anyone to terminate your access.

Your son cannot do it himself, so you must do what is necessary. So get the certified copies of his birth certificate from the Registrar of Births and Deaths, and go to the Family Court in your parish and make your application and thereby secure your father and son relationship to which you are both legally entitled.

Good luck to you and your son.

I wish you and your son and all my readers a blessed and truly wonderful Christmas and a very fruitful and satisfactory New Year.

Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.

DISCLAIMER:

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.

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