After you finalize your divorce, you and your ex-spouse will have a child visitation agreement, which was approved by the court, and everyone swore to obey it. So what happens when your ex occasionally withholds visitation-time from you? What should you do? Here is a guide that can help you resolve this behavior.
Document Each Incident
Each time your ex violates the visitation plan, with or without a valid reason, make sure you record the incident in a document such as the vitiation journal. Your record should contain the dates and times of the denied visitation. You can also include the reasons why your visitations were denied. Also, keep a detailed record of the measures you have taken in an attempt to find a solution to the visitation issues.
If you have to file a lawsuit against your ex later, you will have enough evidence to prove that you did your best to uphold your end of the agreed-upon parenting plan. You will also have enough evidence to convince the judge or court representative to make you the custodial parent if necessary or modify the terms of the original parenting agreement.
Try to Resolve the Issue(s) Directly With Your Ex
Before you involve a third-party or file a lawsuit, contact your co-parent and ask them to comply with the visitation order and allow you to spend time with your child or children. You may feel angry or frustrated during these calls, given the circumstances, but try as much as possible to remain calm.
If the ex says or does something that makes you angry or irritable, don't take an emotional approach to avoid complicating the matter. Instead, be courteous, relaxed, and formal. This will lead to peaceful negotiations, which will, in turn, help you and ex find a quick and amicable solution to the visitation issues.
Ask Your Attorney to Send a Demand Letter
If your ex-partner still refuses to reinstate contact between you and your child, contact your family lawyer and ask them to draft and send a demand letter to the other parent. Ensure the demand letter quotes the section(s) of the custody and visitation agreement that your ex has violated.
Also, make sure the letter requests make-up dates for denied parenting-time. Most importantly, ask your lawyer to make it clear that you are willing to file a lawsuit if your ex continues to violate your parenting-time rights. The demand letter should also emphasize your willingness to resolve the visitation dispute without involving the court or other authorities.
File a Petition to Enforce the Parenting-Time Order
If a demand letter isn't enough to convince the custodial parent to adhere to the parenting order, you will have no choice but to get the court involved. Ask your attorney to file a petition to enforce the parenting-time schedule agreement.
What if the court asks the other parent to comply with the visitation term, but they still withhold? Noncompliance can result in contempt of court, a serious federal offense that could lead to hefty fines or imprisonment. Non-compliance can also force the judge to grant you primary custody.
These are the critical steps you should consider if your ex occasionally or frequently violates the terms of your current visitation agreement. Be sure to follow them to resolve the matter as peacefully as possible.
If your ex is preventing you from seeing and spending time with your child or children, or you want to modify your original parenting agreement, we can help protect your rights and interests. Our lawyers are experienced and will be glad to help you. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.