What to Do If a Custodial Parent Refuses Visitation

Posted on January 24th, 2019

Your ex could have valid reasons for denying you visitation. But if you are the non-custodial parent, it’s important to know that you have rights too. Below, we discuss what to do if a custodial parent refuses visitation and how you can protect your visitation rights.

At  The Law Office of A. Sam Jubran. P.A., we represent people involved in  child custody matters. We will help you take the steps necessary to enforce or win back your custody rights. Contact us today to learn more.

Can a Custodial Parent Deny Visitation?

A custodial parent’s refusal of child visitation can take many forms of interference in a prior co-parenting agreement. Your ex could have valid reasons for not complying with a court-ordered child custody or visitation arrangement. Sometimes, these reasons will hold up in court, but most times, they won’t.

Your ex’s refusal of visitation could be benign. For instance, they may forget the scheduled custody arrangement or always be late in bringing your child back. But a custodial parent’s refusal of visitation is also serious. If a custodial parent purposefully refuse to comply with the court order, it could result in parental kidnapping or contested relocation or other adverse consequence.

Without a change in the court-approved agreement, any denial of visitation rights by the custodial parent is illegal. Florida law views child visitation as “timesharing” which is part of a court-ordered parenting plan.

That is why courts take visitation rights seriously.  It is the public policy of the state of Florida to ensure both parents have liberal access and contact with both parents upon separation or divorce.  “Frustration of child visitation rights” is frown upon and could constitute a willful  violation of a timesharing order. Denial of timesharing can be used against a custodial parent to modify a custody order. It could also be used to hold the custodial parent in contempt of court.

What Should I Do If Visitation Is Denied Occasionally?

If your ex is the custodial parent and withholds visitation only occasionally, you should make up your visitation. You and your ex should work together to schedule specific make-up dates.

Your ex’s reasons for refusing visitation may not be worth taking to court. So it’s best in this situation to settle minor issues with your ex outside of court if possible.

What Should I Do If I am consistently Denied Timesharing?

A parent should never withhold timesharing or use any child as a “tool” to harm the other parent in any way.  No parent should deny timesharing so long there is no safety or health hazard to the child. A custodial parent can’t simply refuse to follow the court-ordered schedule, even if they schedule make-up time on a consistent basis.

If you feel your ex is consistently violating the court order, you have options. You can go to the police to have your visitation rights enforced. But, police often don’t get involved in domestic disagreements. Even when they do, enforcement actions only create more tension and hostility between parents.  Parents should seek to limit the strife these circumstances undoubtedly bring upon to the children.

Your best option is to hire a family law attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you file a legal petition in court to enforce your visitation rights. They could also contact your ex to encourage them to comply with the visitation order and schedule make-up visits.

What Should I Be Careful NOT to Do?

If your ex will not schedule make-up visits, you, as the non-custodial parent, should never withhold child support. Child support is for your child and not your ex. You are obligated by law to provide for your child by paying child support. If you refuse, you are violating a court order. You may be held in contempt of court and risk monetary fines and jail time.

You should also never take matters into your own hands. Self-help is parental kidnapping. You can’t violate the court order. It should go without saying that kidnapping will not help your case before a judge.

For More Information About What to Do If a Custodial Parent Refuses Visitation

To learn more about what to do if a custodial parent refuses visitation, talk to an experienced Jacksonville FL child custody lawyer. At the Law Office of A. Sam Jubran. P.A., our top priority is your children and their welfare. We can help you protect your visitation rights. Contact us today for more information.