Once divorced, or legally separated, you and your ex must have a custody order in place. You can either work out custody and visitation arrangements together, or have the court make the decisions for you. This custody order will state which parent holds primary physical and legal custody, or whether both parents share custody. This order will also outline visitation rights of the other spouse, including weekly schedules, locations, summer vacations, and holiday plans.
After the court approves your visitation schedule, both parents must follow that order. If you need to modify visitation or custody, then you will need to get the approval of the court. Unfortunately, if your child refuses visitation with your spouse, then you could be held accountable as well.
If you have questions about child custody, speak to an attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.
What Is a Parent’s Role in Visitation?
According to the visitation schedule, both parents must make their child available for the dates and times laid forth. This includes dropping your child off at a specific location on time. Should your child fall ill, the parent with custody will need to notify the other parent and work out a later date for a make-up visit.
Beyond making a child available for visits, many custody orders don’t clearly outline your entire role towards facilitating visitation. For the most part, the court believes most parents will act accordingly and reasonably. Most judges will also acknowledge the different challenges associated with children of different age groups. For instance, your judge may be more forgiving if your teenager is refusing to visit, rather than if your toddler is refusing to visit. The younger your child is, the more active responsibility you hold in ensuring the visitation schedule is followed.
Am I Liable for Contempt If My Child Refuses Visitation?
Any parent that refuses to follow the visitation schedule can be held on contempt charges. If your spouse prevents you from seeing your child, you can file an Order to Show Cause. This order will state that the other parent is refusing to follow the visitation schedule. Unfortunately, this order can be issued to parents with a child refusing visitation. In this situation, you will need to prove to the court that you’re following the visitation schedule and that your child is the one refusing to cooperate.
As stated before, most judges are more understanding towards cases that involve teenagers. However, keep in mind that your case will solely depend on whether the court believes your child is refusing visitation.
What to Do When a Child Refuses Visitation
If your child refuses visitation, the first thing you should do is document the incident and notify the other parent immediately. If your divorce case involved a protective order, then you should notify your attorney instead.
Another thing you can do is to involve the other parent and give them some responsibility towards making the visit happen. For example, have the other parent call the child or have them talk to the child in person. Doing this will help the other parent better understand the entire situation. It will also place some obligation on the other parent in facilitating visits. You should never have to force your child to attend visitation.
Immediately contact your attorney if you suspect any abuse from the other parent is factoring in your child’s refusal to visitation. Though, remember that in situations where visitation does not impose danger on the child, you’ll need to prove to the court that you’re doing everything possible to make visitation happen.
If your child refuses visitation, then you could be put into a difficult position. Always make sure visitation does not impose danger on your child. However, you’ll also need to protect yourself from any contempt charges.