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What to Do If the Custodial Parent Withholds Visitation

When the divorce agreement is finalized, all parties must follow all court orders related to the official end of the marriage, including child custody and visitation. Unfortunately, some divorced parents experience difficulties coparenting, which is why it is not uncommon for a custodial parent to prevent the noncustodial parent from seeing their children for weeks, months, or even years. 

However, noncustodial parents who are experiencing this type of behavior have legal options to resolve this situation. Remember, withholding child support in retaliation to the custodial parent withholding child custody is not the proper solution since they are both separate court orders. Withholding child support can also result in serious consequences. 

The following are several steps to take to make sure the custodial parent follows the court order: 

  • Document missed dates – Whether you use a calendar, journal, or online document, mark down each time you were denied visitation. Additionally, maintain copies of any correspondence with the other parent, so avoid becoming emotional and reactive on your end. A record of missed dates can be used as evidence to exercise your visitation rights. 

  • Attempt to schedule make-up dates – Co-parent requires flexibility, which is why visitation time can be made up if a custodial parent does not adhere to the visitation schedule. If you and your ex-spouse are committed to effectively raising your children, you can attempt to fix the situation without having to go to court. 

  • Send an official letter – If the custodial parent fails to make up missed visits, then you can ask your attorney to draft and send a strongly-worded letter that states the continued denial of visitation is unacceptable and you are willing to go to court to enforce the order. 

  • Go to court – If the letter does not work, then you can file a Motion to Enforce, so that the court can intervene and force the custodial parent to comply with the order. Furthermore, the court can issue make-up dates for any missed visits and order your ex-spouse to pay for your court and attorney fees. During the hearing, you can present all your evidence, such as the record of all the missed visitation dates, your repeated attempts to fix the situation, and the custodial parent’s reluctance to follow the order. 

If you are dealing with a child custody matter in Scranton, PA, let the Law Offices of William D. Thompson help you enforce your rights and obtain the most favorable outcome in your case. We can listen to your story and figure out your available legal options to help you see your children. 

For more information about child custody in Pennsylvania, contact us today at (570) 666-1068. More than 15 years of legal experience!  

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