Berman & Asbel, LLP

Resolving Visitation Issues Between Parents

There are a number of reasons why a parent might be tempted to refuse visitation to the other parent. However, a court may not consider these reasons appropriate enough to deny visitation. For example, a child might not like a new stepmother or stepfather, but this alone may not be a reason to deny time. Instead, the court may order the parent to spend time alone with the child and may advise the parent to talk to the child about the importance of the new partner in his or her life. Moreover, the court may ask the other parent to refrain from making disparaging comments about the new partner in front of the child and to talk to the child about how to adjust to the other parent's new life.

Further, a parent might feel that if a child does not have a bedroom at the other parent's house that this is enough reason to refuse visitation. However, this may not always be the case if the other parent is still able to provide the child with a bed, a space of his or her own, and a safe environment. Moreover, a parent is not permitted to refuse visitation if the other parent falls behind on child support, as there are other methods to compel a parent to pay support.

A parent may feel conflicted if the child does not want to visit the other parent because there may be a legitimate reason for this hesitation. If a parent genuinely believes the child should not have visitation time with the other parent due to issues such as domestic abuse or addiction, a return to court is necessary. The parent might be granted supervised visitation when he or she returns to court.

Parents should attempt to resolve less serious issues outside of court. Creating a parenting plan that addresses potential areas of conflict, such as how to handle the child's relationship with a parent's new partner, may help establish guidelines and expectations. Moreover, if you have any questions or concerns, it is always best to consult with an experienced family law attorney before doing anything that could jeopardize your own custody time.

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