Child Visitation & Non-Responsive Parent

by Jan from Jacksonville, Florida, Duval County

My daughter is with her father, but we never did anything legally to give him custody.

He will not talk to me. What do I do to work out custody and visitation?

Answer to Florida Child Visitation Question

Dear Jan,

He needs to talk to you. Like it or not, you and your ex are linked until your daughter is 18.

Even though you are not together, you both are parents.

I suggest that if he will not pick up the phone when you call, write him a letter expressing your desire to see your daughter.

Make the letter direct, not threatening, and completely self serving.

Make sure that you send it with a Delivery Confirmation so that you know when it was delivered, but he does not have to sign for it. Keep the tone of the letter, business-like and calm. Include in the letter the fact that you expect to hear from him within a certain amount of time, such as 7 or 10 days. In the letter ask to set up a time to meet and discuss child visitation.

If he does not respond within the time frame you requested, file papers with the court. Assuming you were once married and now divorced -- and for some reason child custody was not addressed in your Final Order of Dissolution of Marriage -- file with the clerk of court a Supplemental Petition to Modify Parenting Plan/ Time-Sharing Schedule and Other Relief, Florida Supreme Court approved form 12.905(a).

Also file a proposed Parenting Plan, form 12.995(a). Have a look at our web-powered instructions page for this form. The instructions explain the myriad details surrounding raising children in two households.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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