During legal separation or divorce, one parent may have more custody of a child or children than the other. This parent is known as the “custodial parent”, while the other parent is known as the “noncustodial parent”. In such child custody arrangements, the noncustodial parent may have visitation rights. This means there are scheduled times when they can visit with the children and spend time with them.
While visitation rights are typically granted, a family law court can deny or restrict visitation for many reasons. A common situation is where the family court judge believes the child is in danger because of the visitation. The family law court can deny or restrict visitation if, for instance, the non-custodial parent:
- Has abused the child,
- Is likely to kidnap the children, or
- Is likely to use illegal drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol while caring for the kids.
Also, in some cases, a custodial parent denies the non-custodial parent visitation rights without the court’s permission. However, it’s essential to note that it’s illegal to deny visitation to the other parent without a court’s permission and this can cause serious legal repercussions. For more information about child custody disputes in Colorado Springs, or for help with your ex-spouse’s refusal to uphold a parenting plan, contact our experienced Colorado family law attorneys today at (719) 225-4443.
What are Common Reasons for Denying Child Visitation to a Parent?
Common reasons a custodial parent may deny the noncustodial parent their parent visitation rights include:
- The non-custodial parent isn’t paying child support,
- Drug or alcohol abuse,
- If the other parent has been incarcerated in the past for child abuse or child molestation,
- Disapproval of other party’s relationships, such as a new partner, particularly if the new partner is a registered sex offender,
- Fear of the other parent kidnapping the child,
- Religious differences, and
- Child’s wishes, especially if the child is mature enough.
However, if there is a valid, court-approved child custody order in place, it’s illegal to deny visitation, this can cause serious legal implications.
In some jurisdictions, a custodial parent can legally deny the non-custodial parent his or her visitation rights if he or she would risk exposing the child to immediate emotional harm or bodily injury. However, the custodial parent must notify the authorities before denying visitation.
What are the Reasonable Rights of Visitation?
In the interests of the children, the non-custodial parent is usually granted visitation rights with the children because family law courts believe children need to have contact with both parents. The law defines this as “reasonable” visitation.
Reasonable visitation typically means the parents of the child must come up with a parenting schedule. This parenting schedule or parenting plan is a schedule with days and times for visitation. If both parents cooperate, this arrangement works perfectly because it enables them to work around their respective schedules. However, the parent who has custodial rights often has more influence and power over what’s considered reasonable in terms of durations and times. The custodial parent has no obligation to agree to any proposed visitation schedules. However, a malicious or inflexible parent doesn’t escape the notice of the family court judge who remembers his or her stubbornness later on.
Often, the ex-spouses can work out a schedule together that they can both live with. While the custodial parent has the power to decide what is reasonable visitation, his or her decision-making power isn’t absolute. For instance, the custodial parent can refuse night-time visitations or while the other parent is drunk. However, the custodial parent can’t deny visitation just because the children don’t want to visit the other parent, or because he or she is mad with the noncustodial parent, or because the noncustodial parent isn’t making child support payments on time.
If a parent feels that a loosely defined reasonable visitation arrangement won’t work, he or she should request a fixed parenting schedule to save time and aggravation. If an existing reasonable visitation isn’t working out, for instance, if one parent consistently skips scheduled visits, is always late, or doesn’t inform the other parent where he or she plans to take the children, then one party can go back to court and ask that the visitation arrangement be changed.
If parents can’t agree on their own, the family court judge makes a visitation schedule for them. However, for a reasonable visitation schedule to be successful, parents need to communicate with each other rationally.
Can I Ask a Judge to Deny Child Visitation?
Yes, you can. This is the legally preferred method for restricting child visitation, even if family law courts might not grant such a request. It’s essential to remember that family courts are bound to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. Thus, judges will only allow the restriction or denial of visitation rights under very specific circumstances.
Circumstances that may warrant a suspension of parental visitation instead of permanent child custody modification include:
- Domestic violence or bodily harm to the child,
- Parental kidnapping or child abduction,
- Emotional abuse of the children,
- Substance abuse,
- Parental incarceration may lead to visitation suspension instead of custody change,
- Extreme sexual behavior because exposure to such behavior can have a negative effect on the child.
Can You Lose Custody if You Deny the Other Parent Visitation?
Sometimes, a parent can lose custody of their kids, especially if he or she denies the other parent their rights to visitation if there isn’t a court-approved order denying visitation. Thus, if a custodial parent doesn’t want his or her kids to be in contact with the other parent, then he or she must get the original custody order changed by a family law judge in order to deny the other parent their visitation rights.
Modification of visitation must go through the court system and can’t be done entirely at the parent’s own will or decision. If you refuse to go through the court system and hide the child’s location, for instance, you may lose your custodial rights.
What Can I Do if My Visitation is Being Denied?
If your former spouse is denying you a court-ordered visitation with your child, he or she is violating the law. The best way to handle this is to go to court and file an official complaint against your former spouse. Get in touch with an experienced custody attorney for help. It’s essential to note that you may qualify for additional visitations to make up for the ones you missed. Also, the court may offer other remedies, including giving you a break with child support payments. In extreme cases, your ex may lose their custodial rights.
However, if your spouse went to the court, presented a case for your visitation rights to be withdrawn, and was granted the right to deny visitation, you have no legal options against him or her. Instead, you’ll have to resolve the issue and return to court at a later time to argue for the reinstatement of your visitation rights. This also applies if your spouse cited an emergency as a ground to withhold visitation, such as drug abuse or someone new living in your home.
Contact Our Experienced Child Visitation Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!
If you’re seeking child visitation enforcement, it’s in your best interests to consult our skilled child custody lawyers in Colorado Springs about your legal options. Working with a family law lawyer in your area can help you understand your rights. Also, it can help you deal with the complicated legal system. At Brighter Day℠ Law, our experienced family law lawyers have decades of experience helping families with child visitation issues and we can help you and your ex-spouse find an amicable that’s in your children’s best interests. To schedule an initial consultation, contact our Colorado Springs law offices today at (719) 225-4443, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.