Enforcing Custody Rights

When a couple divorces and there are children involved, a temporary legal custody and a custody parenting plan schedule will be handed down by the judge that’s effective until the divorce is final and a final custody and visitation agreement can be reached.  But just because the divorce and custody settlement isn’t yet final, both parents have to abide by the schedule the court sets.  So in violations, either before or after divorce, there are steps that a parent can take for child visitation enforcement. Hiring a child visitation lawyer can help you get the best possible visitation rights as possible; remember to speak to several child visitation attorneys before selecting one to work on your behalf.

The situations that most commonly call for a parent to enforce custody rights are:

  • The custodial parent moving with the child to another state and the other parent still wanting out of state child visitation
  • The custodial parent trying to get parenting plan modification of the visitation agreement for some reason
  • The custodial parent refusing to allow visitation or limiting it beyond what is in the agreement
  • The custodial parent attempting to alienate the child from the other parent

Vindictiveness and Manipulation

If there’s nothing in the divorce or custody agreement that would forbid the custodial parent from moving out of state with the child, then it’s perfectly legal for them to do so, even if it means it will severely limit the amount of time you’ll be able to spend with the child without traveling a great distance.  But if you believe that he or she made the move solely out of vindictiveness and an attempt to circumvent the visitation agreement, it can be challenged in court with a child visitation petition.

Also, if the custodial parent is trying to get a modification to visitation that will reduce the time you spend with your child, you can challenge that as well. In some cases, he or she will try to use excuses like the amount of homework or extracurricular activities as reasons the child doesn’t have time for some visitations. Unless the court is given reason to believe that you’re not making sure the child does his or her homework, or would be harmed by the lack of activities (if for some reason you can’t provide them) then the grounds for the modification would prove baseless.

In some cases, there’s no violation of the custody and visitation agreement, but one parent will try to turn the child against the other parent by “badmouthing” the parent.  While this is difficult to prove, it can be done.  If you believe this is taking place, contact a lawyer to have your visitation agreement modified to include instructions against this type of behavior.

Refusal of Visitation

If you’re refused a court-supported visitation, you’ll need a lawyer to file a petition for contempt against your ex-spouse for breaking the agreement handed down by the court. You should bear in mind that one missed visitation for whatever reason is likely not enough reason for the contempt of court to be granted, and that sometimes things simply happen.  If a pattern of denial appears, though, or you’re frequently asked to change your schedule or miss visits, then you’ll have ample grounds to file the petition for contempt.

Contact a child custody attorney in your area today!

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