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What Happens If I Refuse To Send My Kids To Court-Ordered Visitation In New Jersey?

Sharing custody of your child can be a difficult situation to deal with. However, parents must comply with legally-binding child custody arrangements, even if they personally don’t like the situation. There are some emergency cases that warrant a parent to refuse visitation without penalty. To learn more about this issue, continue reading this blog or contact one of our Morris County, NJ Child Custody Attorneys today!


Most of the time, you cannot refuse to send your child to court-ordered visitation. This is because custody arrangements are legally binding, and you can face penalties for breaking the agreement. Even if your child does not want to spend time with their other parent, you still have to send them to visitation anyway. Possible punishments include:

  • Temporarily or permanently altering the custody arrangement
  • Community service
  • Make-up visitation time for the other parent
  • Criminal charges for breaking an agreement

Penalties are decided on a case-to-case basis. These punishments exist because it’s quite common for parents to refuse visitation for petty or illegitimate reasons. For example, you can’t stop your co-parent from spending time with your child just because you don’t like the snacks they’re feeding your child or because you’re having a personal argument with your co-parent.

The only exception would be if you legitimately fear that your child is in danger of harm or kidnapping. However, there are certain steps you must take to ensure you aren’t penalized for breaking the agreement to keep your child safe.


If your child expresses that they don’t want to spend time with your co-parent, you should sit them down and have a serious conversation to find out why. In situations where the co-parent has been abusing your child, you can seek emergency full custody from the court. You should immediately speak with an experienced child custody lawyer that has your and your child’s best interests in mind. You can also contact child protective services to report the abuse.

You might also seriously worry that the co-parent might attempt to kidnap your child and even leave the country. If the co-parent made this threat or you have another valid reason for thinking your child is in danger, you can contact your local police. In some cases, the police will freeze the child’s passport so they can’t leave the country and issue a warning to notify other officers of possible parental kidnap.

Are you worried about your child’s safety during court-ordered visits? Are you looking for a trusted family law attorney that will fight for you? Look no further because Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC is here to help! Contact our effective team today for an initial consultation.