Enforce Visitations

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Visitation enforcement helps non-custodial parent who is being denied access to his/her children, has conflict with the co-parent, or has an on-going conflict during exchanges. The most common issues that arise with respect to the visitation order that eventually lead to enforcement are:

1. One of the parents attempts to change timings and dates but is refused and told to follow the order
2. One of the parents arrives late on several occasions to the visitation place decided by the order and then is told by the other parent that visitations are going to stop
3. One of the parents designates another person to do the pick-up and drop off, normally a new lover, and the custodial parent refuses to allow the child to leave
4. The non-custodial parent is not paying child support and the custodial parent refuses to allow the child to attend visitation
5. The custodial parent does not like the non-custodial parent’s friends and/or relatives and refuses to allow the child to attend visitation
6. One of the parents changes address and does not update his/her new address with the other parent or the court
7. One of the parents makes changes to the child routine and/or schedule and wants the other parent to follow it but they couldn’t reach a consensus, which leads to no visitation situation.

A parent may seek enforcement of the court order allowing access to the child.  In the enforcement they may seek to:

  • Change the visitation plan if it is very broad or unclear
  • Increase visitation
  • Schedule and enforce additional visits
  • Ask for attorney fees
  • Hold the primary parent in contempt of court which may include jail time
  • Change custody, in extreme cases

The bottom line is that you need to follow the order.  When in doubt follow the order.If you have a death in the family and  it is not your time with your children, and the other parent refuses to allow them to attend a funeral, be careful to log the event. Another frequent point  of conflict is activities like baseball or dancing. One parent does not take the child to practice or games.  A judge may order someone in contempt for not following the order no matter what circumstances were present.  Judges are people too.  They want parents to work together.  Even if the parents no longer have a physical relationship, they will always have a relationship as mother and father, hence, the public policy is to encourage cooperation between the parents.  Both parents need to act like adults.  When the fighting falls under the facts pattern above, typically one parent is held in contempt and required to pay attorney fees and costs, while both parents will be ordered to take parenting classes and/or relationship classes to reduce conflicts.

To enforce the order I recommend the following:

1. Pull certified copy of order
2.  Send notice to the other parent stating that you will exercise your visitation as given in the order from this point forward and give the time and first date of the visit
3. Arrive at least 10 minutes early at the visitation place; wait for around 15 minutes past the designated time if the other parent is late
4. Call police and make a report if no visitation occurs
5. Make three reports in a row
6. After three reports hire an attorney and ask for enforcement which includes jail time