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Suing for Withholding Child Visitation

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Suing for Withholding Child Visitation

Child visitation rights apply to the non-custodial parent. A court order can provide a visitation schedule. This usually states when and how often the parent can see the child.

What Can I Do If I Am Denied Visitation?

A parent may file a lawsuit if the custodian parent refuses to follow the court visitation schedule. Suing is one way that can be used to try to coerce the other parent into cooperating by awarding money to the injured party. A parent denied child visitation may bring the following claims:

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress: You have to show that the other parent intentionally or recklessly. You also have to show that his or her actions caused severe emotional distress. Courts have awarded both compensatory and punitive damages.
  • Intentional interference with visitation rights: Some states allow this tort, but it is not as common. This came about since it has been hard to prove outrageous behavior and severe emotional distress. Here, the injured parent only needs to prove that the defendant’s conduct was intentional. Compensatory damages can be rewarded.
  • Breach of contract: A child visitation agreement is a contract. If there was a child visitation agreement and a parent has withheld child visitation in violation of the agreement, then the injured parent may sue for breach of contract.

Can I Sue to Extend or Change My Visitation Time?

Yes. The claim most likely to result in an extension of visitation time is breach of contract. You will have to show that the actual visitation time is less than the time stated in the agreement. If you wish to amend the agreement to include extra time, you should show a change in circumstances, such as a need for relocation. Extra visitation time can also be a remedy for intentional interference with visitation time.

Can I Get Money Back for Expenses I Ended Up Never Using for My Child?

Yes. It is possible to get lost expenses back if the other parent withheld the child. To get compensation, you should keep and have records of the expense. A small claims court usually hears these claims.

This won't change the issue of visitation, but it makes the denial of visitation more expensive. The hope is that it will discourage the other parent from this in the future.

Can a Rapist Sue the Victim for Visitation Rights?

Unfortunately, there are 31 states that have a loophole in their criminal and family laws that allow a rapist to sue their victims for visitation rights. Visitation is more likely to be enforced when the state in question follows the idea that the father should have visitation rights if the father is paying child support. There are no federal laws on the matter.

Should I Get a Lawyer for My Visitation Issue?

Yes. If you want to enforce your visitation rights and are thinking about suing the other parent, then it is wise to consult with a lawyer. A family lawyer can help you understand your rights and help you deal with the complicated legal process.

Photo of page author Jessica Tran

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-12-2018 01:22 AM PDT

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