Can a Parent Refuse Visitation Without a Court Order?

visitation with child

It is not easy to make a co-parenting arrangement work. It can be especially difficult if one parent will not stick to a visitation agreement and let their children spend time with the other parent. You cannot just refuse visitation, even if you think that you have a good reason for doing so. You need to go to court, and you may want a Tazewell County child custody lawyer to help you make your case.

Are There Good Reasons to Refuse Visitation?

There are certainly good reasons to refuse visitation. You may not want your child to spend time with their other parent because you suspect that:

  • The other parent abuses drugs or alcohol
  • The other parent is in a relationship with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol
  • The children are suffering physical or psychological abuse
  • Your former spouse is planning to kidnap the children

All of these are understandable reasons, but you cannot just accuse your former spouse of bad behaviors and then ignore the visitation schedule.

Do I Still Need a Court Order to Refuse Visitation?

No matter how good your reasons are for refusing visitation, you still need to go through the proper channels. Even if you think that you are protecting your children, the court will not see it that way unless you make your case and an honest effort to change your agreement with your former spouse. Continue to violate the court’s orders and you can face some serious consequences.

Can My Child Decide Not to Visit Their Parent?

There are many reasons why a child might decide that they do not want to spend time with a parent during their scheduled visitation time. However, children do not generally have a say in the visitation schedule. Both parents have a right to spend time with them.

This means that the custodial parent needs to do what they can to encourage their child to visit their other parent. It is the adult’s responsibility to make an effort here and you cannot use the whims of a child as an excuse to refuse visitation over and over again.

What Are the Penalties for Not Honoring a Visitation Agreement?

When the court sees that one parent continues to refuse visitation and break the current agreement, it can take action to rectify the situation. A judge could:

  • Hold the custodial parent in contempt of court
  • Force the custodial parent to take a parenting class or counseling at their own expense
  • Order the custodial parent to pay expenses, like legal fees and child care expenses, for the other parent
  • Modify the current visitation schedule

So if you are a parent and your former spouse will not stick to your visitation arrangement, you may have legal recourse.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you think that changes need to be made to custody or visitation agreements, do not just refuse visitation to your former spouse. Do things the right way and contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. Schedule a consultation and learn more about what our compassionate attorneys can do to assist you.

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