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Rocket Lawyer Family law

Ask a Lawyer: Child Custody and Visitation Questions

Nothing is more important than your kids, so if you’re facing a child custody situation, you probably have lots of questions. Here are some recent questions that our guest attorneys have answered on our weekly Facebook “Ask a Lawyer” session.

If you have any legal questions of your own about child custody or something else, stop by the Rocket Lawyer Facebook page every Wednesday from 10:30-12:00pm (PST).

Can a father give up his rights without the mother agreeing in Texas? -Pamela

Hi Pamela. The court decides whether the father can give give up his rights. In making this decision, they’ll want to look out for what’s in the best interest of the child, and usually having two parents is best for the child. So in general, the court won’t approve it unless there’s a good reason for it–like when there’s a new step-parent who wants to legally adopt the child. Also, keep in mind that giving up rights doesn’t necessarily mean the father will be relieved from other obligations–like child support, for example. If the father is saying that he’s giving up rights, and nothing has gone through the court, you should talk a lawyer.

I have custody of my grand-daughters from my son , their mother thinks she can get them when ever she wants, my son had sole custody until he left them with me. The daddy & mother were never married, can she do this? -Margaret

First things, first, it may be worth trying to open the lines of communication with the mother. See if you can sit down and talk about a solution that works for everyone.
If you can’t agree, how to approach your situation will depend on several factors, most importantly whether you have a court order or custody agreement that makes it clear you have legal custody of your grandkids.

If you do, then you should have the ability to enforce your agreement. It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your options.

If you don’t have an order or an agreement in place, you may want to get additional help figuring out a custody schedule. You could use a mediator to work out a mutually agreeable arrangement, then petition the court for a visitation order that reflects your agreement. And if you can’t decide on a schedule, the court can do it for you.

Either way, you’ll probably want to speak to a mediator and/or an attorney to help you work out an arrangement and to make it official with the court.

Here are some resources about visitation in Alabama.

And we can help you find a lawyer here.


Hi. I would like to know if you could tell me where to start to try and get rights to my grandkids in Florida. -Tamathy

Hi Tamathy. Thanks for your question.  Are you seeking custody or visitation rights? Grandparents in Florida do have rights but under limited circumstances. The best place to start is with advice from a Florida family law or guardianship attorney. To properly analyze your situation, the attorney will need to know details of the children’s current circumstances, including whether the kids are living with a parent and whether the Florida Department of Children and Families has been involved in the situation.

You can also take a look at a Florida statute called “Grandparents Visitation Rights” which addresses when grandparents are entitled to reasonable visitation. This statute gives grandparents the right to file a petition with the court seeking visitation and includes factors the court will consider in ruling on that petition.  It’s important to know that the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that some of the provisions of this statute are unconstitutional because the statute allows the state to interfere with parents’ right of privacy (i.e., to raise their children without government intervention).

Again, since this is a complicated area of law with a great deal of controversy surrounding it, it’s best to consult with a Florida attorney.


  1. Gayle Sullivan says:

    My husband and i have been separated for more than 6 years without either one of us filing for divorce. if he passes away, based on the fact we are not legally divorced, am I legally responsible to re-pay his debts or our children?

    Thank you

  2. gaetan Pierre says:

    I currently live in Jacksonville, Fl and my daughter is 4 years old and currently lives with her mother in Torrance, CA. I went to court to get joint physical custody by able to bring my child here in Fl for the three months of summer and holiday and school break while her mother keeps her for the other nine months of the year. The judge told me I needed to spend some more time with her, so she can get use to me and the judge gave me permission, to see my child every other month for a total of six visitations. I am in my number 5, but I was wondering if I could go to the court before my 6th visitation to get the three months summer vacation physical custody or do I have to wait until the my six visitation time is done?

    • Everyday Law Staff says:


      Is this something you have talked about and made an agreement with the mother yet? Depending on how the judge in your case laid out the new visitation agreement you may or may not be able to spend the summer with your daughter already.

      If you don’t have this agreement in place already you may want to get additional help to figure out a new custody schedule with the mother. A mediator could work out a mutually agreeable arrangement, and then petition the court for a visitation order that contains the updated agreement. If you can’t decide on an update schedule, the court could do it for you.

      Either way, you’ll probably want to speak to an attorney or mediator to review the current ruling. If a new agreement is needed they could possibly help you work out a new arrangement and to make it official with the court.

      If you would like to speak to an attorney about this please see this link in how we can help connect you to one: