Denial of Child Visitation
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What Can I Do If I'm Denied Visitation?
When two parents are divorced or separated, the custodial parent sometimes prevents the non-custodial parent from exercising his or her child visitation rights. Some common reasons for denying visitation include:
- Non-custodial parent not paying child support
- Disapproval of other parent’s relationships, such as a new mate
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Child abuse Incarceration
- Fear of Abduction
- Religious differences
- Child’s wishes
If there is a custody order in force, denying visitation is illegal and can have serious legal repercussions for the parent who denies visitation.
In some jurisdictions, a custodial parent may deny visitation if visitation with the non-custodial parent would risk exposing the child to immediate bodily injury or emotional harm, but the custodial parent must also take specific steps, such as notifying the appropriate authorities. This is only permitted in exceptional circumstances.
How Do I Enforce My Visitation Rights?
If you are being denied visitation, you have several options. If you are able to contact the custodial parent, you may first want to attempt to contact him or her to find out the reason he or she is preventing visitation. If this does not resolve the issue, you can consider the following:
- Document the violation: Attempt to make a record of the denial of visitation. For example, if the custody exchange location is a restaurant or shopping location, you can purchase a small item and save the receipt to prove that you were at the exchange location at the correct time.
- Contact the police: If you have a copy of the court’s order, you can contact the police for assistance and file a police report. You may also schedule a civil standby at the custodial parent’s residence so the police can supervise the exchange.
- Contact the district attorney: Many district attorney offices have dedicated child abduction units that are tasked with helping parents enforce custody and visitation orders and preventing abduction.
- File a motion: If the custodial parent is consistently denying visitation, you can file a motion requesting orders from the court. In your motion, depending on the circumstances, you can ask the court to modify the custody order, enforce the custody order, or issue sanctions or other orders to prevent future violations.
- File for contempt: Contempt is a judicial proceeding brought against a person who violates a court order. In contempt proceedings, the court may issue sanctions or require that the violator serve jail-time.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Visitation Issue?
When the custodial parent disregards the court’s orders, it can be devastating to the non-custodial parent and the children. A family lawyer can help you understand your options and can present your case to the court to prevent ongoing violations.
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Last Modified: 05-09-2017 08:40 PM PDT
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