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What Can I Do If My Ex Refuses to Allow Visitation?

Sharing parenting time is never easy, but when one parent withholds parenting time from the other against court orders, it can create a very serious problem. Any parent with established parental rights is entitled to time with their child, whether they are the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent. Unfortunately, some parents let petty fights, greed, jealousy, and other issues come in the way of effective co-parenting. As a result, your child’s other parent might be preventing you from seeing your child by refusing to plan visits or by ignoring scheduled visitation.

If your ex isn’t letting you be a part of your child’s life, you may need to take legal action to assert your rights as a parent.

California Visitation Rights

Parents have a right to be involved in their children’s lives, even if they do not have custody. In California, parents who are separated or divorced will need to establish a parenting plan through the court to establish each parent’s role in the child’s life. The court typically favors joint custody arrangements, where both parents share parenting responsibilities somewhat equally. However, the court might also grant sole or primary custody to one parent. In these cases, the custodial parent is able to make all key parenting decisions on behalf of the child. In most cases, the noncustodial parent is granted visitation rights so that they may see their child, even though they do not have custody. Visitation rights can vary significantly in each case, but may include weekly visits, monthly visits, extended overnight visits, or short supervised visits at a public facility, depending on the circumstances.

The court will only take away a parent’s visitation rights in extreme cases, like those involving domestic violence or substance abuse issues.

Enforcing Court Orders

If you’ve already established a visitation schedule or have legally binding orders to allow visitation, you can take action to enforce those orders. An official court order is binding, so if a judge already granted visitation rights but your ex still refuses to allow you to see your child, you have a right to enforce those orders. You can discuss your options with your attorney, but in most cases, this means you will have to return to court to explain the issue before a judge. The judge can penalize the other parent for refusing to follow an order, and you may even be able to use their refusal to help you gain shared custody rights.

Establishing Visitation

In some cases, you might not have established visitation rights with your child, which means you must first establish your rights before you can legally enforce them. For example, parents who were never married might not have an established parenting plan when they split, which could leave the other parent, usually the father, without legally established rights to visitation. In order to establish visitation rights, you should contact an experienced attorney and bring the case to court.

Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, discuss your case with our Murrieta divorce attorneys.