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Never married mother with custody wonders if sex offender father should have overnights with child

Your Question:
I am going to make this as short as possible. My sons biological father is a registered sex offender, has two sons a few months apart and spent almost a year not having anything to do with my son. His oldest son. My son was born at the end of Jan. His father started paying child support in November. He has then switched to a better paying job. I don't know if I am supposed to report that change if he hasn't or since the money is coming directly out of his pay checks the child recovery unit already knows. Also, through out my son's first year I spoke to his father a few times and told him that if he wanted to see his son or anything he needed to call me, and that he had my number and knew where to get ahold of me. He never called. I am engaged to a great guy who I have been with since I was 5 months pregnant. He is a great dad to my son, and my son know him as his dad. We talked about him adopting my son when we got married. Two weeks before my son turned one, his girlfriend called and explain that he wanted to meet his son, but didn't think I would let him. We spoke and we agreed to meet. I don't trust him to have him over night, not because he's a sex offender, but because his girlfriend tells me how he doesn't help out with their son who is a few months younger then mine. And I dont want my son to get there, and not be taken care of. I do let them have him on Sundays from 11-9. They keep asking for him over night, but I don't know if I should do that. I dont' feel comfortable and I always say no. They said they were going to take me to court, but I dont know if he legally has rights to have him over night since I have full custody. I dont know if he can have him over night because he is a sex offender. I don't know what to do? I dont know if I am just trying to have control in this or what? His girlfriend tells me how she doesn't leave their kid alone with him, because she doesnt really trust him and he never helps out. I dont fear that his dad is going to abuse him or anything like that, but I am scared that he won't be getting the proper care he should be.

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My Answer:

Thanks for writing.

I asked you for more details about the nature of the sex offender status. You said that he got convicted of third degree sexual assault on a 16 year old girl.

It would be your job to relate that conviction to being a danger to your son. The father would likely argue it as being irrelevant, since he was only a few years older than the victim, that it was a misunderstanding or date rape, or something like that (whatever the details were). There's no pattern of sexual assault, and no seeming predatory nature on young kids. So, if you hammer it, you may get some points depending upon the judge, or a judge may view it as a distraction from the real issues. Best to consult an attorney on this particular issue.

The bigger picture is... what's best for the child? Courts recognize that children should have bonds with both parents. Unless a judge finds that the father is a threat to the child, the judge will give the father some parenting time.

I view "best interest" in your situation as one of two scenarios:

  • Convince the father to terminate his rights so that your fiancee can adopt the child after you get married. This gives the child stability and an intact home (hopefully with a lasting marriage). It also lets the father off the hook for child support and any other expenses.

  • If father won't terminate rights, you need to assess what level of contact is best for the child and then support that contact. If possible, the child needs to build a bond with his father.

Right now, your entire case is built upon "I fear this, I fear that." You don't truly know this man's parenting abilities. It could be that he's fine. It could be that he hasn't a clue. But you don't know.

I personally think that if you're willing to leave the child with the father for 10 hours straight, it's not much more of a stretch to do an overnight. If I had your concerns, I would have given two or three days a week at 4 hours per day.

I suggest that you stop negotiating with his girlfriend. You don't know if she's trustworthy or if she has ulterior motives. She's largely irrelevant to your situation, unless she's willing to testify against your ex. So, negotiate directly with the father. You can outline some concerns that need to be addressed before overnights can begin.

If he ends up filing a custody modification in court, it may be reasonable for you to outline your concerns to the court and ask for a home evaluation before any orders are made. That's the best way to get someone objective to determine the father's parenting skills.

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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