In Virginia, there is a strict obligation for a child to have the chance at a relationship with both parents. If your ex-partner is denying visitation without approval from the court, then you have a right to pursue legal action.
The most common reasons your ex may deny you visitation are:
- retaliation for an action you may have taken;
- resentment over the relationship ending;
- lack of confidence in your ability to care for the child; and/or
- punishment for a delay in providing a child support payment.
Regardless of the reasoning behind the action, the custodial parent is legally required to allow for quality time between you and your child. If they do not have court approval before they withhold visitation, they run the risk of losing custody of your child altogether.
What to Do if Your Ex Isn’t Letting You See Your Child
Upon your divorce or legal separation, a child custody and visitation schedule should have been made to help you determine when you and your child will spend time together. If your ex occasionally does not follow the schedule, there needs to be a discussion on when the time can be made up.
You should also be keeping track of each instance this occurs so if it becomes an issue you can take your ex to court. If your ex is unwilling to schedule make-up days with you or routinely misses those as well, contact a child visitation attorney to discuss your legal options.
It’s important that you never take the matter into your own hands as a form of retribution. If you withhold child support payments indefinitely or forcefully take your child from the custodial parent, you could face serious legal consequences.
If Visitation Is Consistently Withheld
In most custody agreements, plans are in place for each parent on how to split time over holidays, special occasions, and of course, breaks from school. But what happens if it’s your time with your child during their summer vacation and the other parent decides not to put them on the plane or drive them to your house?
It happens more often than you think. In some cases, the child doesn’t want to go visit their other parent, and in others, the parent doesn’t want to send their child. Regardless of the specifics, this situation can be incredibly disheartening for the parent who thought they were going to get some much-needed time with their child. It’s important for every parent to know what can be done in this situation.
If the other parent is refusing to allow visitation during a scheduled time outlined in the custody agreement, they could be held in contempt. In divorce, civil contempt is most often a willful violation of a court order. Additionally, it could be considered parental kidnapping if the other parent is preventing you from seeing your child.
When this happens, the aggrieved parent can petition the court for an order to show cause. The petition lets the court know of the other parent’s noncompliance and requests the court use its power to enforce the order by holding the other parent in contempt. The court will then require the parent who broke the agreement to attend a scheduled court hearing and explain why they should not be held in contempt. The judge will decide one way or the other, and if they rule the parent was in contempt of court, they could be subject to fines and even jail time.
We Will Fight for Your Rights
The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller takes child custody and visitation laws seriously. We believe every child should have the opportunity to build and maintain a relationship with both parents. If you are having child visitation issues, contact our attorneys as soon as possible.