What to Do If Your Ex Interferes With Child Visitation

If you had children with your ex-spouse or an ex from a previous relationship, one of the biggest issues that must be resolved is determining who gets primary custody of your child and what the visitation rights will be. While these schedules can either be worked-out between you and your ex or decided by the court, and may be extremely liberal or extremely strict depending on the circumstances of your case, sticking to these schedules is required once the court enters a final order.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons why the visitation schedule may not be followed – one of the primary being that your ex interferes with your visitation. In a previous blog post, I offered suggestions on how to ensure a visitation exchange goes smoothly. However, here are some options for you in the event your ex interferes with your visitation rights altogether.

If you are the custodial parent of your child (the parent with whom your child lives with and spends most of their time with) and your ex-spouse violates the visitation agreement by not returning your child, this is pretty serious. First, you should make a stern demand for your child back to the other parent by any and all means possible. Try not to be rude or escalate the situation any further, but let the other parent know that you want an immediate return of the child.

If you are the non-custodial parent but are entitled to visitation time with your child, but your ex refuses to let you see your child, then you should first try to discuss the matter calmly with your ex outside the presence of your child. If this is ineffective, then utilize the court system. Petition the court that approved your initial custody and visitation agreement for an order to show cause and/or an order of contempt against the custodial parent, and ask that you be allowed to visit with your child in accordance with the visitation schedule. If this is a common occurrence, then you may want to petition the court to change your visitation schedule altogether based upon a substantial change in circumstances, and use the evidence of your ex’s withholding visitation in court.

However, under no circumstances should you abduct your child or otherwise violate the custody and visitation agreement that is in place. You can face serious criminal and civil penalties for doing so, and no court will have sympathy for your “two wrongs make a right” argument.   

As you can see, many issues can arise when it comes to abiding by and enforcing custody and visitation schedules. However, it is never a good idea to take matters into your own hands. If you are involved in a custody or visitation dispute, you need the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney.  The qualified Family Law Attorneys at DiPietro Family Law Group have decades of experience handling all types of family law cases. Contact one of our attorneys today at (703) 370-5555 to schedule a consultation, or visit us online.

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