Denying Visitation And The Law
As a divorced parent with physical custody of your minor child, you may encounter situations where you wish to block the visitation of your ex-spouse. It's important to realize, however, that visitation arrangements are set forth by the courts, and no one but the courts have the ability to change it. Whether you have a legitimate concern about the issue or you simply fail to comply with the visitation orders, you should understand that non-compliance with visitation orders is taken very seriously by the courts. If you are experiencing problems with visitation, here is how to use legal channels to change a visitation order.
Failure to pay child support is a common problem with divorced couples, but you cannot deny a deadbeat parent their rightful visitation for not paying the ordered amount. Child support and visitation are considered two very different issues by the courts and are addressed separately. You should, however, take action by notifying the child support enforcement office about the non-support issue.
Minor issues that most adults are expected to work out on their own should not be brought before the judge in a visitation hearing. You cannot deny visitation because you don't approve of your ex-partner's new relationship, unless you can show it harms the child. Other minor issues that will waste the court's time include bringing the child home late, canceling the visitation at the last minute, and allowing the child to eat too much candy.
Serious issues like abuse should merit swift action on your part, however. Report any suspected abuse to the police and have your divorce attorney request an immediate emergency suspension of visitation until the issue is resolved. Drug or alcohol abuse should prompt similar legal actions. In these cases, you must be able to show proof of any abuse allegations. Parents found making false abuse allegations may be subject to a loss of custody and a contempt of court charge.
Denial of Visitation
Any denial of court-ordered visitation could result in contempt of court charges, which normally means paying fines and court costs, but jail time is also a possibility. In some cases, however, visitation denials can cause family court judges to question your parental fitness. A parent who seeks to foster a good relationship between their child and their ex-spouse is considered the epitome of a good parent.
If you are experiencing visitation problems, do yourself and your child a favor and go through proper legal channels to remedy the situation. Contact your divorce attorney, one like Law Office of Diane F. Russell, for more assistance to ensure that you keep your child safe and that you stay on the right side of the law.