Parents refuse visitation between their child and their ex for many reasons. Sometimes, it is an act of vengeance and a way to lash out at a former spouse. Other times, a parent may refuse visitation because they believe the safety of their child is in danger. Regardless of the reason for your ex to refuse visitation with your child, it is important to know what to do, and what not to do.
Are Parents Allowed to Deny Visitation?
Child custody in Florida is known as time-sharing because it is presumed that each parent has the right to spend time with their child. Even though the terms used in the Sunshine State vary slightly from other states, one thing remains the same. Time-sharing orders are legally binding and parents are required to comply with the terms of the court order.
Violations of court orders are taken very seriously. Sometimes, refusing visitation is upheld by the courts, but that is rarely the case. In most instances, when one parent refuses to allow their child to visit the other, they will face serious penalties. These could include a change in the time-sharing order, or even being held in contempt of court.
What to Do when Visitation is Refused
Sometimes, the reason for refusing visitation is fairly benign. The primary custodial parent may have forgotten that a visitation date was changed and so, fail to drop the child off. Or, a parent may be late for pick-ups or drop-offs on a fairly consistent basis. In these cases, it is often less costly and more efficient for the spouses to try and work out an agreement on their own. For example, if one parent forgot about a date change, it should be fairly easy to make up for the missed visit on another day.
On the other hand, when visitation is refused consistently and without valid reason, you may have to go to court to resolve the matter. An Orlando divorce lawyer can help you file a petition with the court to enforce the order and will give you the best chance of success with your case.
What Not to Do when Visitation is Refused
Non-custodial parents are often required to pay child support. As such, when they are refused visitation, it is sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to withhold those payments. This is never the recommended course of action. Remember that child support payments are for your child, not your ex. By withholding payments, you may only be hurting your child.
Additionally, just as you can take your ex to court to enforce a child custody order, they can take the same action if you violate a child support order. It is unlikely that a judge would find in your favor for not paying support and you may also face serious penalties, such as being found in contempt of court.
Our Family Lawyer in Orlando Can Help with Your Time-Sharing Issues
If your ex has denied your rightful visitation, our Orlando family lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can advise you of your legal options. We know how to enforce court orders and will guide you through the process to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more.