Once your divorce is finalized and the judge approves your parenting plan, you might exhale with relief. After all, the hard part is over, right?
Unfortunately, many people discover just the opposite. Instead, the true difficulty has only just begun. At Comunale Law Office, we hear from clients who have been denied visitation by a vindictive ex-spouse. If this happens to you, follow these tips for seeking legal relief.
Document Why Visitation was Cancelled
Your ex-husband or wife might have plenty of reasons why your children are not coming to visit, including:
- Your child is sick.
- The parent is sick and cannot transport your child to the drop-off location.
- An emergency has erupted that makes visitation impossible.
- Your child does not want to visit you.
These are only some of the most popular reasons, and they can be difficult to disprove. However, when an ex keeps your child away from you, month after month, then you have reasonable grounds for assuming that your ex is lying.
Remember to hold onto all communications with your ex—emails, texts, phone messages. If you speak on the phone, quickly document the substance of the conversation as well as the date and time. You want documentation of the alleged reasons why visitation has fallen through.
Show Up at the Drop-Off Location
Even if you know visitation is canceled, you should still show up as if you expect visitation to happen. Bring along a friend who can act as a witness. It is important that you show you were willing and able to take possession of your children for visitation. If you do not show up, a judge might think you were okay with visitation being canceled.
Bring a Contempt Action in Court
Judges expect that you and your ex will abide by all orders, including the parenting plan. If your ex intentionally defies the visitation order, he or she could get in trouble. You can ask the judge to find your ex in contempt of court.
At a contempt hearing, you can present evidence that your ex is denying you visitation. Your ex can also come into court to present his or her side of the story. If the judge finds that your ex is in contempt, he or she can levy some coercive sanctions, such as:
- Time in jail
- Extended visitation to make up for lost time
- Modification of the custody order that awards you custody of the children
Furthermore, statute 3109.051(K) states that your ex must pay your attorneys’ fees and court costs if he or she is found in contempt. Because contempt of court is a serious remedy, you should discuss with a lawyer whether to bring a contempt motion and how to present evidence to the judge.
Speak with a Dayton Family Law Attorney with Questions
Visitation is your right, and parents should not take interference with their rights lying down. At Comunale Law Office, we can help you reconnect with your children when a hostile ex-spouse tries to keep you apart. To find out more about the services we offer, please contact us today to schedule your free consultation.