Coming to terms with a child custody agreement can be difficult, particularly when you're dealing with a particularly difficult divorce. Unfortunately it can be made even more complicated when your parental instincts as the custodial parent are telling you that something isn't right and you need to step in to protect your child. Although most courts focus on preserving the rights of each parent in a custody agreement, if it isn't in your child's best interest, you need to know when you should speak up. Here's a look at some of the times when you can legally refuse your ex visitation.
Is Your Child Refusing to Go?
After a divorce, children often feel emotionally overwhelmed and confused. If your child is refusing to attend the agreed-upon visitations with your ex, it's important that you get to the bottom of the issue. The refusal to go may simply be your child's attempt to take some control over his or her situation. Unfortunately, it could also be an indication that something else is wrong, such as problems with your child's relationship with your ex or something about your ex's living situation.
Talk with your child openly about the problem. The more receptive and supportive you can be, the more likely your child will be willing to confide in you. If there's something going on at your ex's new place that's making your child uncomfortable or is otherwise inappropriate, you may have the legal right to deny visitation.
If your child refuses to entertain the option of visitation, make sure that you document the entire situation clearly. Keep a record of your communication with your ex so that he or she cannot attempt to tell the courts you're keeping the child away. Then, reach out to your divorce attorney and express the concerns and issues that have been raised to see if you can alter the visitation orders.
Do You Have Reason to Suspect Some Form of Abuse?
As a parent, you are legally obligated to protect your child from abusive environments and situations. As a result, if you have reason to believe that your child is being abused during visitation or your ex has a history of abuse, it's in your best interest to take action right away. If you refuse visitation on the grounds of an abuse suspicion, reach out to your local law enforcement immediately. This is important, because it provides you with a documented complaint on file. This shows the court that you're serious when your attorney files the petition to change the visitation order.
Do You Suspect That Your Child Is at Imminent Risk?
You may not have any proof that there's abuse of any kind going on, despite a solid suspicion that something isn't right. If you have any reason to suspect that your child is at risk of injury, abuse or other hazard, that suspicion may be enough for you to refuse visitation. For example, if your ex shows up to pick up the kids for visitation and he or she is clearly under the influence of something, you may have the right to refuse. Additionally, if your ex is making threats or being aggressive toward you, you can call the authorities and you may be able to refuse visitation on the grounds of concern due to his or her temper.
The best thing you can do to avoid problems with custody and visitation is to educate yourself on the rights that you have as a custodial parent. Talk to your attorney about any concerns that you might have, and he or she can provide you with the legal steps you need to take in your state. Since custody issues and requirements can vary not only by state, but also by case, it's important that you have the legal support to guide you through the system.
For more information, talk to an experienced lawyer or visit http://www.madisonlf.com.