Divorce and separation brings about a number of different challenges. This is especially true if there were children conceived during the relationship. One of these difficult areas is child visitation. Agreeing upon and establishing an order is difficult; however, the real challenge is executing the order. As the custodial parent, there are a number of seemingly minor mistakes you can make that can have serious consequences. Make certain you know how to avoid these mistakes so that you don't put your custody rights at risk.
Don't use Child Support as Leverage
Some parents make the mistake of trying to use child support as leverage for visitation. Say the court order stated that your child will spend the first weekend of each month with the non-custodial parent. However, because they missed their payment, you tell the non-custodial parent that you will be denying them their visitation rights. Legally, you do not have the right to deny visitation. Child support and child visitation orders are two separate entities.
You might think you're hurting the other parent by denying visitation, but you might actually end up hurting yourself. Since the visitation agreement is considered a legally binding order, your failure to comply could have legal ramifications. The non-custodial parent could take you to court and even have the order modified in their favor. If the other parent is not meeting the financial agreement, take that up with the appropriate agency, but don't deny visitation.
Don't Allow your Child to Manipulate Visits
You are your child's leader or guide of sorts. There are times when you have to make your child do something they don't necessarily want to. Keep this same train of thought when it comes to child visitation. If your child says they do not want to visit with the other parent, don't immediately affirm their wish. You first want to get to the bottom of their reason for not wanting to go.
If there is a real issue, such as abuse, then by all means address it and have the matter resolved appropriately. However, if your child feels this way simply because they don't want to go, don't allow your child to make this decision on their own. You need to communicate this with other parent before making a decision. Again, this is a legally binding order. The other parent could easily take you to court and say that you're denying their visitation rights if you aren't communicating the issues with them.
Your attorney should serve as your first line of defense. Should an issue arise with your child visitation agreement that needs to be addressed, speak with your attorney, one like Novenstern Fabriani & Gaudio, LLP, to ensure you are handling the matter appropriately.Share