Steps To Take If Your Former Spouse Is Withholding Visitation
When your divorce became final, you likely knew that the final decree included court orders relating to how property would be divided, which party was awarded child custody, and who is responsible for paying child support. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for people to co-parent peacefully after a divorce. If your former spouse is the custodial parent, they may even withhold visitation from you, violating the initial child custody.
If your former spouse is withholding visitation, you may think the situation is a hopeless one. Fortunately, that is not the case. There are certain steps you can take to regain your visitation rights, and there are legal methods for enforcing the original custody order. Below, our Media child custody lawyer explains what these are.
Continue to Pay Child Support
You may think your only option is to withhold child support if your former spouse will not let you see your child. However, this is one option you do not have. Like the child custody order, the child support order is final and legally binding. You must continue to pay it, regardless of your ex’s actions. If you stop paying child support, you will face serious penalties such as having your paycheck garnished.
Keep a Journal
To enforce a child custody order, you must have clear proof that your child’s other parent is withholding visitation. Using a calendar or a journal, write down the exact dates and times of when you were denied visitation. Also retain any communication from your former spouse, including emails and texts, that can prove they denied your rightful visitation.
While it may seem very difficult to do, particularly if you think your ex is acting vindictively, it is important to try and remain flexible. If your former spouse denies visitation one day, ask if you can make it up on another day. If the other parent is intentionally withholding visitation, it is not likely that they will make up the dates. Still, taking this step will show the court that you tried to remain flexible and that you acted in good faith.
Send a Demand Letter
A demand letter to your former spouse outlines your complaint that they are withholding visitation. It will also inform your ex that you are prepared to take the matter to court if they continue to refuse to comply with it. When drafting a demand letter, it is always recommended that you work with a Media child custody lawyer who will know what to include.
Go to Court
If the demand letter does not work, you will have to take the matter to court. Your lawyer can file a Motion to Enforce, which asks the court to intervene and enforce the original child custody order. A family law judge may not only enforce the order but also award you additional visitation time to make up for the lost visits, or change the order completely so you have primary custody.
Call Our Child Custody Lawyer in Media First
Before taking any of the above steps to enforce an order, call our Media child custody lawyer at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates. Our seasoned attorney can help you every step of the way and give you the best chance of having your visitation rights restored. Call us now at 610-565-6100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.