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I am the father. What rights do I have to see my children?

A father has as much rights to see his children as does a mother. However, these rights are dependent on the best interests of the children. The best interests of the children are the paramount consideration and the test that is applied to determine if access should be granted to a parent, regardless of whether that parent is the mother or the father. Generally, courts recognize that a child should have as much contact with each parent as his or her best interests require. This is called the “maximum contact principle.”

Access means the time that the non-custodial parent has the child in his or her care. Access includes the right to make inquiries about a child and to be given information about the child’s health, education and welfare. Day to day decisions are made by the parent with whom the child is, according to the residential schedule.

Although a parent (whether mother or father) who does not receive custody usually receives access, no one, including a non-custodial parent, has an absolute right to access. Judges sometimes state that access is the right of a child and turns on the child’s interests, not on the parent’s interests. Most Judges and parents view access as a joint right of a parent and child and accept that there should be regular and frequent access unless a parent has forfeited such right by misconduct, or such contact poses a risk to the child.

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