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Violation of Visitation Orders

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What is Violation of a Visitation Order?

Violation of a visitation order occurs when one party fails to comply with the terms and provisions set forth in a court-approved child custody/visitation order.  Violations of visitation orders are usually treated very seriously, as the child’s safety or well-being may be endangered through such violations. 

Violation of a visitation order may be different than a violation of an informal visitation agreement.  In general, a visitation order is usually approved by the court and is enforceable under law.  Violating it may lead to legal penalties and consequences.  On the other hand, a mere agreement between the parties may not have the full backing of the court’s approval, especially if the agreement was never written down or presented to a judge.

What are Some Ways That a Visitation Order Can be Violated?

Visitation orders can be violated in many different ways.  While state regulations may be different from state to state, violations may include:

  • Overstaying a visit with the child
  • Not dropping off or picking the child at the correct place/time
  • Attempting to change the visitation schedule
  • Allowing someone else to pick up the child without authorization from the court
  • Attempting to visit or contact the child at non-appointment times

In some cases, changes to the visitation schedule may need to be made for legitimate reasons.  In such instances, the parties should file to modify the visitation order, rather than attempt to change it without the court’s knowledge or supervision.

What are the Consequences of Violation of Visitation Orders?

The legal consequences for violating a visitation order can include:

  • Contempt of court
  • Criminal consequences (this usually happens as a result of repeated violations)

Also, repeated violations of visitation orders can also affect the violating party’s rights in other areas, such as their right to custody in the future.  If the party keeps violating a court ordered visitation schedule, it will be reflected in their record and may cast them in a negative light in future court hearings.  Thus, violations of visitation orders should be avoided at all costs.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Violation of a Visitation Order?

Visitation orders, when issued by a judge, are enforceable under state laws.  If violated, they can lead to many legal penalties and other consequences in relation to child custody/visitation rights.  If you are facing a violation of a visitation order, or if your child’s parent has violated an order, you may wish to speak with a family law attorney immediately.  Your family lawyer can direct you on how to proceed, and can provide you with representation in court during formal hearings. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 04-11-2018 07:40 PM PDT

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