When divorced parents do not get along with each other, this could have a negative impact on co-parenting. In many cases, the custodial parent will prevent the non-custodial parent from seeing their children for weeks, months, or even years—without any just cause.
If you are a father and the mother of your child is continuously withholding visitation, you may feel hopeless in this situation. Fortunately, there are several legal options to remedy this situation.
Here are several steps noncustodial parents can take to ensure custodial parents follow the visitation order:
- Record each occasion you miss visitation time – Whenever your child’s mother denies visitation, you should record each incident in a journal, calendar, or an online document. You should also record or save any communication you have with your ex-spouse to demonstrate your efforts to follow the parenting schedule, which means you must avoid confrontation. These records and correspondence can be used as evidence in your case.
- Try to schedule make-up dates with your ex-spouse – Before you head to court to enforce the visitation order, first attempt to resolve the situation with the mother. You could offer the schedule make-up dates to compensate for any lost time.
- Have your attorney send a demand letter – If the mother continues to withhold visitation despite your efforts, you can ask a lawyer to send her an official letter, which states you will go to court to enforce the visitation order if the issue persists. Again, mention that you are willing to settle matters outside of court.
- Take the case to court – If the letter doesn’t work, you can file a motion in court to ask the judge to ensure the mother complies with the visitation order. The judge can schedule make-up dates for any missed time and make your ex-spouse pay for your legal fees. You can use the evidence you gathered to prove your case to the court. By demonstrating your efforts to resolve the issue before going to court, the judge may rule in your favor.
Keep in mind, do not retaliate by withholding child support payments. Child support and visitation are two separate family law matters. In addition, your child is legally entitled to these payments—not the mother. If you fail to make monthly payments, you could be held in contempt of court, resulting in serious penalties such as jail time.