If your visitation has been denied, you are not alone. It happens all the time. You do not have to put up with this and it will only continue to happen as long as you allow it to happen.
Visitation denials almost always boil down to one common denominator - control. It is all about one parent attempting to impose their will on the other parent. Most often, it has absolutely nothing to do with the best interest of the child.
I break this down into two categories: Cases where there is a visitation order and cases where there is no order.
If you have an order...
If you have an order, the custodial parent must follow the order, unless there is a hell of a good reason not to. If visitation is denied, available remedies are a motion to enforce or contempt proceedings.
If you allow a pattern of visitation denials to stack up, it becomes much harder to enforce. Take action the first time and every time visitation is denied and the court will think you are serious and care about the visitation.
Allow a bunch of denials to pile up and it looks like you don’t care. If the court gets that impression, it might not work out so well. Key is always being proactive and persistent. Insist on your right to visit.
If you do not have an order:
For cases where you are having problems with visits and there is no visitation order, step one is file a petition and get a visitation order. Until you do, there is nothing to enforce and for that matter nothing saying that you even are entitled to any type of visitation. Again, you must be proactive. Get your case filed. Be persistent and continue to fight until you get your visitation order.
Now for the bad news…
Just because visitation is denied does not always mean that the court will enforce the visitation order. IF the custodial parent can convince the judge that there is some justifiable reason to deny the visitation, then there will be a problem. What is a justifiable reason? Usually something that involves alcohol, drugs, or anything else that makes the judge believe there are safety issues.
However, if visitation is denied just because it is inconvenient for the custodial parent or for some other bogus reason, the court should enforce the order.
A very common question is if visitation is denied do I still have to pay child support? Yes, you do. Visitation and child support are two completely different and totally independent issues. The reverse is also true.
If someone fails to pay child support can the custodial parent then deny visitation? No, they cannot. Cuts both ways. Don’t try to connect the dots between the two issues and you can save yourself a lot of grief.
Pete D. Louden