What Should I Do If My Ex-Spouse Withholds Visitation?

In a divorce, child visitation agreement imposes the amount of time that a child spends with each parent. While the custodial parent is awarded primary custody of the child, the noncustodial parent is given visitation time.

Unfortunately, some divorced parents are not able to successfully co-parent. In most cases, custodial parents will prevent noncustodial parents from seeing their kids for weeks, months or even years to get the other parent to pay child support or simply out of spite.

If visitation has been established, but one parent fails to follow the guidelines, the other can take immediate action. Remember, it is possible to make up lost time.

It is critical that noncustodial parents record any times and dates that you missed visitation in a document, whether on a piece of paper or online. If the custodial parent refuses to reschedule the missed visitation, the noncustodial parent should seek legal assistance from a skilled family law attorney.

However, noncustodial parents should never withhold child support since it is not related to visitation. Your child is legally entitled to child support that a noncustodial parent is obligated to pay. Failure to pay child support is considered a violation of a court order, just like failure to adhere to the visitation schedule.

Additionally, noncustodial parents are not allowed to take matters into their own hands. Going beyond the scheduled amount of time could result in kidnapping charges if the custodial parent decides to contact the police.

If the custodial parent fails to follow the schedule and attempt to make up any missed visitation, a lawyer can send a letter to the custodial parent that states you will take legal action if the custodial parent continues to withhold visitation. This tactic often encourages the custodial parent to follow the visitation order and schedule make-up time.

If the custodial parent continues to withhold visitation despite the letter, the noncustodial parent can file a petition in court to enforce visitation rights. Noncompliance with a parenting order is considered a serious offense and a judge may decide to make a custody change or have the custodial parent face criminal penalties.

For more information on child custody issues, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff and schedule a free consultation with our Westlake Village family lawyer today.

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