If you have no custody order in place, usually anything is fair game. However, once that order is in place and instructing you on where your child goes at any given time, it is important to abide by what appears within. If your ex has a scheduled visitation with the child and you deny this time for no reason, you could be engaging in ‘frustration of child visitation rights,’ which could lead to contempt of court.
Am I Ever Permitted to Deny Visitation?
The court sees that it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents in the child’s life. This is why the court makes it rare for a custodial parent to deny visitation by the non-custodial parent, because it could affect a child negatively. The court says that, if a mother is denying a father reasonable visitation rights during their period of time, this is contempt. It is also illegal to deny visitation for mundane reasons, such as the child being sick, a child being out of town, or because one parent has a problem with the new significant other. Even in cases where there is an emergency, the other parent can be contacted so that they can visit the child even throughout this time.
Denying Parental Time Based on Child Support
If the non-custodial parent is not keeping up with child support payments, you may wonder if this is the right time to start denying visitation. Since this is not seen as a harmful act to the child, you are not permitted to deny visitation for this reason. This is not a reasonable excuse to deny visitation – but we will go over some things that are valid reasons.
For instance, if you believe that the other parent is putting the child in danger, you are permitted to deny visitation as you wait for an updated order. Perhaps there is suspicion of child abuse – in these cases, you want to do what is best to protect your child even if that means taking them away from the other parent during scheduled time. Another reason is if you believe that the other parent is abusing drugs or alcohol, especially if you truly believe these accusations or have proof of such.
If you have reason to withhold the child because you feel as if they are in danger, then it is a good idea to act and assert your rights. However, if you have no excuse and the child is not in imminent danger, visitation rights must continue on until you have spoken to the court and received a new order. It is important for the court to make these decisions and help you work through the process, as every child and parent have rights.