Enforcing Child Custody and Visitation Agreements

Perhaps one of the more complicated aspects of a divorce is the child custody and visitation agreement. Because it concerns the disposition of another person, there are often issues that arise within the effective period of the custody and visitation agreement which could make it difficult to enforce. One of these issues could be place of residence.

When one or both parents move out of state, this may make it difficult for the non-custodial parent to enforce visitation rights. While the agreement restricts the when, where and for how long the non-custodial parent can have access to the child, it also confirms the non-custodial parent’s right of access. So when a custodial parent deliberately makes it difficult for the other parent to spend time with the child, the non-custodial parent can sue for the enforcement or modification of the child custody and visitation agreement.

As part of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), the custodial parent cannot refuse the non-custodial parent visitation rights unless there are circumstances that may justify this refusal, such as suspicion of child abuse, domestic violence, or neglect. For example, if the child comes back from a visit with bruises or seems reluctant or afraid around the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent can report it to the police before consulting a child custody and visitation lawyer on what can be done to prove such suspicions and bar the non-custodial parent from visiting. Failure to pay child support is not a valid reason to withhold access to a child.

On the other hand, the custodial parent can also complain to local authorities under UCCJEA and consult a lawyer for legal options when the non-custodial parent abuses this right of access. According to the website of the BB Law Group PLLC in The Woodlands, this can be the non-custodial showing up in school or at home unexpectedly, retaining the child longer than agreed, or transporting the child to another country.

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