Being the custodial parent of minor children carries with it a responsibility to ensure that any agreed-upon and court-ordered visitation orders are followed. If you are having issues with any aspect of your child visitation schedule, you must follow proper legal channels to make changes. Visitation orders are handed down by a judge, and only a judge can adjust or suspend visitation. If you are experiencing problems with your current visitation schedule or with your ex-spouse, read below for information on how to best handle the situation.
You have no legal standing to deny visitation.
Failure of your ex-spouse to pay court-ordered child support can be annoying and potentially harmful to your child, but no matter how far behind they are, you cannot deny visitation between your child and your ex-spouse for not paying as agreed. You can take legal action against your ex-spouse for non-support, however, so contact your family law attorney for more information.
The courts do not allow you to deny visitation based on your opinion of an ex-spouse's new partner or wife, for bringing the child home an hour late, for a bike accident that left your child with a broken arm, or for any other relatively minor issues. Even if you go through proper legal channels, the courts feel strongly about children having a close relationship with their biological parents, and will likely deny a modification of visitation based on those types of reasons.
For allegations of physical or mental abuse or abuse of drugs or alcohol, contact the police and file an emergency hearing request with the court to temporarily suspend visitation; which can later be amended to a permanent change, if necessary. You must have proof of your allegations and the courts will remove the child from your custody if the allegations prove to be false, so tread carefully and thoughtfully when making allegations.
If you deny visitation without a court order.
Legally, you are in contempt of court for denying visitation and could be charged, fined and jailed. However, the punishment could be far worse, including removing you as the custodial parent and making new visitation arrangements. The courts do not approve of people taking the law into their their own hands.
Visitation issues can cause a great deal of stress and are emotionally draining. As you can see from above, no matter what the circumstances, taking your issue before a judge is the only way to solve major visitation problems. Your divorce lawyer can assist you in dealing with minor problems as well as severe, emergency issues with child visitation.