When you and your former spouse or partner separated or divorced, you should have established a child custody and visitation agreement if you had kids together. But what happens if the other parent has violated your rights by refusing to let you see your children? Fortunately, you have legal options.
Under your established visitation schedule, you should be given the ability to visit with your children on the days and times stated in the signed agreement. If your former partner consistently comes up with reasons to cancel these visits, you may need to request that a judge holds that person in contempt of court for violating the visitation order.
While it is unlikely that a judge will hold someone in contempt of court for canceling one or two of your scheduled visits, he or she will take this action if the cancellations are habitual in nature. To that end, you should carefully document each instance the other parent cancels on you, using a journal or calendar — and keep track of any emails, phone messages or text messages to serve as supporting evidence of the problem.
One reason why a parent may try to keep the other from seeing the kids is if he or she believes the children are in danger due to abuse, drug use or the actions of a new romantic partner. Thus, you may need to be prepared to fight against these claims as you seek to assert your visitation rights.
If a judge does hold the other parent in contempt of court, you may be able to have the court force him or her to allow for make-up visits to replace the ones you missed. The other parent may also have to pay for your attorney’s fees and other court costs. In rare cases, the guilty party could even face jail time.
Repeated violations of a visitation agreement is a serious issue, and you do have legal remedies available to you. For more information, consult a dedicated Jacksonville child custody lawyer right away.
Attorney Andrea Jevic contributed to this post.