Parents work hard to receive child visitation so the last thing they want is for something to prevent it. In some cases, what stands in the way is the other parent. Withholding visitation is a serious action that has severe consequences. One parent should not resort to withholding visitation to punish the other parent for failing to adhere to a visitation agreement, failing to make child support payments, or any other reason. If you have a question or need help with a parent withholding visitation, speak to an expert for a free consultation today.
Is Withholding Visitation Ever Acceptable?
If a custodial parent prevents a non-custodial parent from seeing the child, recourse is available. If this withholding occurs infrequently, the parents should work together to establish make-up time. If the custodial parent refuses to do this, the non-custodial parent should contact a child visitation lawyer to learn what action is available. Withholding child support payments is never appropriate and is a violation of a court order, which carries financial penalties and possibly jail time.
Taking the child from the custodial parent for a period not designated by the visitation agreement is considered kidnapping. If it is time for the custodial parent to have visitation, do not interfere with this because the ex could call the police to file a kidnapping report. The wisest approach is to let the attorney issue a letter to the custodial parent stating that visitation interference is not acceptable and court action may result.
If a non-custodial parent is granted visitation documented by a visitation order and the custodial parent withholds visitation, this is considered a violation of the order. In some states, the issue can be enforced by the police. If this is not possible, the non-custodial parent may petition a court, with or without representation by an attorney, to enforce visitation rights. If visitation is consistently withheld, some state courts will transfer custody of the children to the non-custodial parent.
Withholding visitation can be a very emotional situation, so legal guidance is recommended. Child custody laws are complex and visitation orders can be difficult to understand. If one parent refuses to comply with visitation requirements, the other parent should contact an attorney with knowledge of child custody laws.
If a custodial parent is faced with past-due child support payments, withholding visitation is not the answer. The parent can apply to state Child Support Enforcement to collect the money through wage garnishment or other methods. Alternatively, the issue can be taken to court and resolved by a judge, who will not view withholding of custody in a favorable light.