What to Do If Your Ex-Spouse is Withholding Visitation
Divorce means you and your ex-spouse are no longer married. However, if both of you share children, you and your ex must continue to raise your kids.
Unfortunately, many divorced parents are not capable of successfully co-parenting. Due to the inability to work together for the sake of their children, custodial parents often prevent noncustodial parents from seeing their children for weeks, months, or even longer.
If your ex-spouse is consistently withholding child visitation, you do not need to accept this type of behavior. There are several legal options you can pursue to remedy the situation or perhaps gain primary custody of your children.
The following are several steps to take if your ex-spouse is denying child visitation:
- Document each incident – Write down each time your ex-spouse withholds visitation. You can keep track of all dates and times of missed visitation in a journal, calendar, or electronic document. Having proper documentation to support your child custody or visitation case can be of great benefit if you end up going to court.
- Do not stop paying child support – When a noncustodial parent denies child visitation, the other parent often believes it is fair to stop paying child support. However, stopping child support payments can only make matters worse. Child support and visitation are separate issues. Since refusing to pay child support is a violation of a court order, you could be held in contempt of court, which can result in jail time and fines.
- Try to schedule make-up dates with your ex-spouse – If withholding child support happens every so often due to the miscommunication or conflicting schedules and you still have a good relationship with your ex-spouse, it may be possible to try to talk things out and schedule make-up dates. Find out why he/she is denying visitation and the potential solutions to resolve the issue.
- Have your lawyer make contact – If you are unable to work things out with your ex-spouse, you can have a lawyer send out a strongly worded letter, demanding that you will take legal action if your ex-spouse continues to deny visitation. In many cases, all it takes is the possibility of going to court to get a custodial parent to cooperate.
- File a motion in court – If the demand letter from your attorney doesn’t result in changes and you are unable to effectively communicate with your ex-spouse, you may have to file a motion with the court. The judge has the power to enforce the custody order, modify the order, or issue sanctions against the custodial parent to stop him/her from withholding visitation.
Child custody matters are often highly emotional and complex. If your ex-spouse has been withholding visitation and shows no signs of working things out in the future, you need to hire an experienced family law attorney to protect your rights and best interests.