Denying Visiting Rights: Not Easily Done

Sometimes the custodial parent may wish to deny the other parent visitation rights. This happens, for example, when the noncustodial parent may have a problem with alcohol or drugs.

The custodial parent must seek the permission of the court to do so. The custodial parent must demonstrate to the family court judge that continuing visitation is not in the child’s best interest or that starting visitation privileges may harm the child. In general, the court refuses to suspend visitation unless the noncustodial parent is abusive or there are other problems that put the child at risk.

In most cases, the custodial mother seeks to block the noncustodial father from exercising visitation, and in many cases, the father then withholds child support. In this routine, anger and hostility quickly escalate. Courts are very reluctant to completely separate a father from his children.

If the custodial parent believes the child is in immediate danger, he or she should call the police. Otherwise, the law requires a court order suspending visitation. In order to do this, the custodial parent prepares a motion to suspend visitation, stating the names and relationship of the parties.  The motion must give the reasons for denial of visitation, with specifics. The motion must provide the court with evidence. If the child has a case manager or therapist, he or she may provide evidence indicating that visitation may lead to physical or mental injury. ?? The court then schedules a hearing at which time the custodial parent makes an argument against visitation.

Some custodial parents, rather than asking the judge to deny visitation rights, request that the court order supervised visits because family courts are more receptive to supervised visits than denial of access.  However, the custodial parent should not deny the other parent access without a court order, nor can he or she deny access because the noncustodial parent has not paid support.

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