If the courts have set out a specific visitation schedule based on their perception of the best interests of the children, it can be extremely difficult to have that visitation stopped. In general, the court will place limitations or cease visitation only if the children’s physical well-being, emotional development or overall safety is at risk through continued visitation. If you, as the custodial parent, stop allowing court-ordered visitation (no matter the reason) be aware that you could be held in contempt, could be subject to an injunction and could even lose custody and be responsible for legal fees of parent with visitation rights.
If you believe the regular, court-ordered visits with the other parent is hurting your children there are legal avenues to limit visitation or have all visitation be supervised. In order to do this your attorney will require sufficient evidence to prove this change in visitation is in the best interests of the children. This evidence must be greater than the underlying principle that visitation with the other parent benefits the children. Some instances of verification that could persuade a judge that limiting visitation rights are warranted are:
- Eyewitnesses who have observed the parent with visitation rights abuse the child
- Eyewitnesses who have personally observed the parent with visitation rights engage in illegal drug use or drink to excess in the presence of the child
- Expert medical testimony which proves harm or sexual abuse to the child by parent with visitation rights
- Criminal conviction records of the parent with visitation rights
- Statements from the children’s teachers, doctors or psychologists regarding any negative effects to the children’s emotional well-being stemming from the non-custodial parent’s behavior.
The evidence you present must clearly show that your children have developed significant behavioral or emotional problems as a direct result of the non-custodial parent’s actions since visitation was determined during your divorce. Depending on the weight of your evidence the court may order visitation to cease completely, may mandate that any visitation be supervised, may reduce the number of visitation periods or could reduce number or length of visitation until the non-custodial parent goes through a treatment program to address a possible addiction or any behavior which could be considered harmful to the children.
Retaining an experienced family law attorney can help you remedy your complex custody problems. When searching for an attorney, be sure the attorney you retain has many years of experience dealing with all kinds of custody issues and disputes.