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Can I refuse to allow my ex to get the kids for visitation?

Custodial parents have sometimes attempted to restrict their children's visitation with their other parent — or refuse to allow any interactions — on some very shaky legal grounds.

Below are some examples of trivial reasons parents refuse visitation.

Failing to pay child support

Although this is a serious issue, it should not be tied into refusing visitation with the kids. Time and again, family law courts have ruled that non-payment of support is not a sufficient reason to deny the children visitation with their non-custodial parents. There are legal remedies available to resolve child support issues that do not involve interrupting visitation.

Alternatively, parents who are not able to exercise visitation cannot refuse to pay child support.

Dislike of the ex's new spouse

After a divorce, it's perfectly natural to resent the person who assumes your former role in a relationship with your ex. While you don't have to befriend that individual, if the two marry, the kids shouldn't be denied visitation with their other parent because of your disapproval.

A child has no separate bedroom in the parent's home

Sometimes space limitations in a parent's home may dictate that a child shares a bedroom with a half-sibling or even their parent. In an of itself, this is an inappropriate reason for refusing to allow visitation.

Courts consider the overall safety of the parent's living arrangements, including whether the arrangements are sufficient for several children and whether the visiting child has a bed in the parent's home.

Children refuse to visit

This comes down to the reasons behind their refusal. Are they being neglected or abused at the non-custodial parent's home? If so, parents have the responsibility to protect their children from harm.

If, however, kids don't want to visit because Dad doesn't have cable or they prefer to hang out with friends, custodial parents are remiss in their duties to allow them to refuse to visit their other parent.

When there are true obstacles to maintaining ongoing visitation, either parent may ask an attorney to file a petition to modify the visitation arrangements.

Source: The Spruce, "Trivial Reasons to Refuse Visitation," Debrina Washington, accessed June 02, 2017

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