While some divorced parents can successfully work together to raise their
kids in two separate households, others are experiencing immense difficulties
because of the animosity between the ex-spouses. There are many cases
where the ex-spouse with primary custody withholds
visitation from the other spouse out of spite.
Unfortunately, noncustodial parents who are experiencing this type of situation
feel helpless, often causing them to give up completely. However, it is
imperative to continue to fight for your court-ordered rights by going
through all the available legal channels.
If your ex-spouse is withholding child visitation, taking the following
steps may help resolve the issue:
Record all the missed dates – Whether you use a calendar or keep a journal, document any missed
visitation. Additionally, maintain copies of any recorded dialogue with
the other party, from text messages and e-mails. This means you need to
keep a cool head when communicating with your ex and always maintain professionalism.
If you end up attempting to obtain enforcement of your order, any documentation
can provide significant help to your case.
Attempt to resolve the issue outside of court – If you are your spouse are dedicated to raising your children in
the best possible way, both of you should be able to squash any minor
problems before they get worse. If visitation dates are missed on occasion
due to conflicting schedules or confusion, you can find a compromise to
make up the missed dates. Resolving any issues between the two of you
can be beneficial for the future and your children’s well-being.
In order to successfully co-parent, you and your ex need to work as a
team for your kids’ sake.
Have your lawyer send a demand letter – Despite your efforts to keep the court out of your situation,
if your ex continues to deny court-ordered visitation, you can have your
attorney write and send a strongly-worded letter to him/her. Ensure the
letter includes the fact that you are willing to avoid the headache of
the court system and your request to make up any missed dates. Also warn
your spouse that if his/her behavior continues, then you will seek court
Go to court – If your ex fails to take corrective actions after sending him/her
the demand letter, you can file a Motion to Enforce to ask the court to
be involved and force your ex to comply with the order. Furthermore, you
can ask the court to issue make-up days for any missed visitation, as
well as court costs and attorney fees if your ex is found guilty of willful
disobedience. You can present the court with all your documentation, which
is considered evidence which supports your case.
Keep in mind, do not stop paying court-ordered
child support in retaliation against missed visitation dates. These two issues are separate
from one another, so willfully disobey a child support order can result
in legal trouble. Additionally, do not attempt to keep your child beyond
your scheduled visitation time, or else you will be accused of kidnapping.
For more information about child custody and visitation disputes in Massachusetts,
contact our Wellesley family law attorney at
Barach Law Group LLC today.