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Visitation Rights and Visitation Refusal

Reasons to Refuse Visitation

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Mid adult woman with arm around daughter and father in the background
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Question: Is it ever okay to refuse visitation? If so, under what circumstances may I refuse visitation?

What if the non-custodial parent refuses to exercise his or her visitation rights?

If a non-custodial parent does not adhere to a court ordered visitation schedule, a custodial parent has very few options. He/she can:

  • Take the child's custodial parent back to court and request a revised visitation schedule
  • Communicate with the child's custodial parent about the reasons for refusing to exercise his visitation rights

Keep in mind that you cannot take a child from the custodial parent's home without consent. A parent who removes a child from the custodial parent's home may risk legal consequences.

Can a child refuse visitation?

No one can force a child to visit with his/her parent. If a child refuses a visit with his/her parent's, a parent should do the following:

  • Talk to the child about why she does not want to visit with her parent
  • Assure the child that his parents love him
  • Explain the concept of visitation to a child. Remember that visitation rights should serve the child's best interests.
  • Allow the child a week or so off from visitation

What if I, as the custodial a parent, want to refuse to allow my ex exercise his/her visitation rights?

The custodial parent is held to a visitation schedule ordered by the court. A parent may refuse to allow an ex to exercise his visitation rights for the following reasons:

  • Fear of imminent harm, as in suspected abuse or neglect of the child
  • Child does not want to visit with the non-custodial parent

For more information about visitation rights and child custody, refer to additional resources or speak with a qualified attorney in your state.

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