Divorces occur for a variety of reasons, and all too often it is due to the difficulties one spouse has with their personal issues. This can lead to traumatic confrontations and unpleasant family interactions. Because of this, many parents find themselves struggling with allowing visitation rights to their children and former spouse.
Circumstances That Commonly Lead to Reduced Visitation
Unfortunately parents often can face terrible circumstances dealing with another parent who is:
- An alcoholic or drug addict;
- Mentally unstable;
- A pathological liar;
- Mentally or physically abusive to you;
- Mentally or physically abusive to the children;
- Completely irresponsible with regard to the care for the children;
- A multitude of other issues
So you find yourself separated, and the other parent wants custodial time with the minor children. You do not feel comfortable with them having overnights, so the question is can you withhold the children?
Do you have a Court Order?
If you do, the answer is No, if the order provides for overnights. You are required to comply with court orders until further orders of the court.
Do you have a Separation Agreement?
If you do, the custodial provisions are not enforced via contempt or with assistance of law enforcement but can result in your being in breach of the terms of your agreement and potentially subject to an attorney’s fee claims.
If the question is no as to the above:
Both parents have equal rights to the children. So you can withhold the children, but you should understand that the other parent could keep them as well.
What are the consequences of withholding the children?
You may feel you are acting in their best interest, but will a judge feel the same way? Will the judge feel you are putting your personal feelings before your children’s needs? Are your concerns legitimate as far as safely or are you getting feedback that you may be a bit over protective? You have to be sure you have a strong position as to why you are withholding children; otherwise you may have a very upset judge on your hands.
What should you do if you have concerns?
If you feel your children are at risk of imminent bodily harm, injury or sex abuse, or that the other parent intends to flee the state to evade jurisdiction you can seek an emergency child custody order placing them in your care. The judge may allow limited custodial time depending on the circumstances. If you feel strongly enough to withhold custodial time, you more than likely have this type of issue at hand. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you feel you have a basis to seek this relief.
Speak to a Raleigh Family Attorney about Visitation Rights
Whether or not to withhold visitation of children from a parent can be a very tricky area with significant consequences if a judge feels you made a poor choice. If you have concerns regarding the best course of action for you and your children regarding child custody, we would suggest scheduling a consultation with one of our attorneys who are very knowledgeable regarding child custody matters.
Schedule a consultation by calling 919-301-8843 or by completing the form below.
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