Divorce or separation signals the end of a romantic relationship between two people. However, if you had a child together, your relationship is never quite over. You must grapple with a custody arrangement for your little one.
Unfortunately, not all divorced or separated parents are never capable of setting their differences aside in the interest of their children. And this is where the family court comes in. During the divorce process, one of the decisions the court will have to make has to do with the custody arrangement, the court will grant primary custody to one parent as the other parent is given visitation rights. That often works – unless the parent with visitation keeps denying the parent with visitation access to the children.
Here are a few things you should do if your ex is withholding visitation.
Keep a diary
It is important that you document each time your ex bars you from seeing your child. Be sure to keep track of the specific dates and times the visitations were missed. This way, you will have credible evidence to support your denied visitation claim when the matter comes before the family court.
Continue paying child support
Sometimes, a non-custodial parent may decide to withhold child support in retaliation for denied visitation. However, it is important to understand that this can only complicate matters for you as child support and visitation are two very separate issues. Refusing to pay child support is in itself a violation of court order. If convicted, you may face serious consequences for withholding child support, which may include fines and even jail time.
Take the matter to court
Sometimes, you can resolve the issue of missed visitation by talking things out with your ex. However, if you are unable to resolve the matter, then you may have to file a motion in court. This way, the judge will review the merits of the case and issue an enforcement order, sanction the custodial parent or issue a modification order.
Child custody and visitation can be a sticky issue both during and after the divorce. Knowing your legal options can help you remedy the situation while safeguarding your parental rights and interests.