Can You Withhold Child Visitation from Your Ex-Spouse?
One of the hardest things for divorce lawyers in Arizona to explain to their clients is that they can’t keep their children from seeing the other parent. No matter how much you dislike your ex, you do not have the power or authority to withhold child visitation rights from them. Even if you don’t approve of their lifestyle, it’s not your place to determine when your kids will get to see their mom or dad. If you honestly think your kids are in danger while with your ex, you need to call your divorce lawyer in Arizona right away. They can try to file a motion and get the matter sorted out once and for all.
Is There a Court Order in Place?
In most custody cases, there is a court order that outline when each parent is to have their children. If you were married to your children’s other parent, then your court order is probably part of your marital settlement agreement. If you were never married, then you may have nothing but a verbal agreement. If there’s an order in place, you have no choice. You must honor the visitation schedule. If there is no order, then you may feel like you have the right to cut all ties between your children and your ex. While legally you haven’t violated an order, it still is not the kind of behavior the judges like to see. Your ex may file a motion with the court asking for a formal court order. Once the judge finds out that you were withholding visitation with your ex, they are more likely to be empathetic to the other parent’s plight.
Why Would You Want to Withold Visitation?
There are all sorts of reasons why you would want to keep your kids away from their mom or dad. Some of the more common excuses divorce lawyers in Arizona here include the following:
- You suspect your ex has a drug or alcohol addiction
- You don’t approve of your ex’ lifestyle
- You do not want your children exposed to your ex-spouse’s new girlfriend or boyfriend
- They haven’t paid child support in over a year and you’re holding the kids hostage until they pay all the arrears
As tempted as you may be, you need to go through the proper channels. This means you ask your divorce lawyer in Arizona to file a motion with the court. Tell them why you don’t feel it’s in your children’s best interests to spend time with their other parent. Your attorney will write all your reasons into your motion papers and submit it to the court.
Your Divorce Lawyer in Arizona Can File a Motion on Your Behalf
Even if your lawyer files a motion on your behalf, that doesn’t mean your request will be granted. Odds are your ex’s attorney will file a response to your motion. They’ll paint an entirely different picture than you. You may say the children’s father has a drinking problem. Their attorney will submit a dozen letters from character witnesses indicating that they’re an ideal parent and rarely, if ever drink.
Doing This Can Backfire on You
One thing you don’t want to do is end up that single parent who calls the cops twice a week because they don’t want to turn their children over to their other parent. This will make you look like you’re not honoring your agreement. Rather than risk this in court, have your divorce lawyer in Arizona handle things for you.