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What to do when your ex is denying your visitation rights

A boy running to his divorced father for a scheduled visitation

While child visitation rights are negotiated as part of the divorce settlement, it is possible that a petty or spiteful ex may attempt to block your access to a child.

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to begin to resolve the situation and to fight for your rights to see your child.

How visitation is determined

Terms of visitation will be decided during the divorce, and they are legally binding. One party or the other can’t simply decide on their own to amend the frequency or duration of visits.

Your ex is not allowed to block you from seeing your child, even if you have not made all of your support payments.

Helpful steps to take

If you are in a situation where you are not being allowed to see your child unlawfully, you should begin to document missed visitation periods and consult with a lawyer immediately. This will help to build your case if it later advances to the courts.

Contact a family lawyer and get their advice. You may reach out to your ex and try to rectify the situation – though this will be much easier to do after you have made a plan along with your lawyer. If a civil conversation doesn’t work, your family lawyer may move forward and send an official letter making clear the legal ramifications of their actions.

You also may be able to contact the police in order to enforce the access terms, however, this is unlikely to be a long-term solution and could make the division even worse. Furthermore, the police may be reluctant to get involved in a civil matter unless the terms of the order specifically call for police enforcement. Having said that, the police report may be used as evidence in Family Court that the access terms are not being adhered to and what transpired.

For an ongoing issue with visitation rights, you should bring the issue to a judge. Though this may cost both time and money, it can be the most certain and long-lasting way to resolve the dispute. You will need to make sure your case is clear and that you can provide documentation showing that visitation rights were withheld.

Lastly, don’t exacerbate the situation by cutting off child support payments. This may only result in a judge viewing you negatively in Court.