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Can a Parent Refuse Visitation Without a Court Order?

If you are the custodial parent, you cannot just refuse visitation to your children’s other parent for no reason. Even if you think that you have a good reason for keeping your children away from your former partner, doing it without going to court first can land you in hot water. Our Morris County, NJ child custody attorneys can help you adjust your custody and visitation agreements without getting into legal trouble.

What Are Valid Reasons to Refuse Visitation?

You could have perfectly valid reasons for wanting to refuse visitation. You want to keep your children safe from things like:

  • A parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Physical or psychological abuse
  • Potential parental kidnapping
  • A parent’s partner who engages in abusive or unsafe behavior

These are good reasons to keep your children away from another household, but you cannot simply withhold visitation rights. You must go through the courts. Unless there is an emergency situation or outright confirmation of a dangerous environment, you could just end up getting in trouble for trying to protect your child.

Can I Refuse Visitation If My Child Doesn’t Want to Visit Their Other Parent?

Until they reach a certain age, children are not able to decide when or if they want to see a noncustodial parent. If your child does not want to go to the other parent’s home for visitation, you cannot just use that as an excuse to not allow visitation. As the adult in the situation, you have to do your best to convince your child to spend time with their other parent. Both parents have a right to time with their children.

What Can I Do If My Former Spouse Won’t Stick to a Visitation Agreement?

If you are on the other side of this and your former spouse is ignoring your visitation rights, you may have legal options. It is recommended that you and your former spouse come together to try and figure out how you can both stick to the visitation schedule that has already been made. If that is not possible, then you may have to go to court. A parent who refuses visitation could end up:

  • Giving up more parenting time to make up for time “stolen” from the other parent
  • Enrolling in parenting or counseling classes at their own expense
  • Being held in contempt of court
  • Forced to pay legal fees for the noncustodial parent

If you are a noncustodial parent, do not be afraid to go to court if your former partner will not co-parent with you and stick to your visitation schedule.

Talk to Our Family Lawyers

So if you have a problem with your former spouse, do not act on your own or ignore any current legal orders. Instead, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. and meet with our team. Tell us more about your situation and we will do everything that we can to assist you.