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Dawn K. Gull

Providing Family Law Representation In Allegheny And Butler Counties

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Can your ex-spouse prevent your visitation with the kids?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2021 | Child Custody |

The relationship between you and your ex-spouse hasn’t exactly improved since your split. If anything, it’s gotten worse. You had to weather a lot of threats and intimidation tactics as your divorce proceeded.

Now, however, your ex-spouse has sunk to a new low: They’re interfering with your visitation time with the kids based on some slight or failing on your part.

Whether the fault on your end is real or just perceived, does your ex-spouse really have that right?

Custody and visitation are orders of the court — not optional

Many ex-spouses seem to think that family court orders regarding custody (among other things) are somehow “optional,” but they’re far from solid legal footing with that belief. This commonly comes up when one parent withholds access to the children because the other parent has missed a support payment. However, support and visitation rights are two different issues.

If your ex-spouse persists in refusing to allow your visitation with the kids, it may be time to file contempt of court charges. In Pennsylvania, contempt of court in a family law case can be used in situations when:

  • A parent refuses to return a child to their other parent.
  • One parent routinely or purposefully interferes with the other parent’s visitation time.
  • One parent tries to remove a child from the county, state or country without permission.
  • A parent engages in actions designed to alienate the child from the other parent.
  • One parent ignores the other parent’s right to participate in a child’s education or medical care.
  • One parent actively tries to keep the other from communicating with the child by acting as a gatekeeper of sorts.

No parent has the unilateral ability to take away the custody and visitation rights that have been conferred by the court to the other parent.

If you find yourself in a situation where your ex-spouse simply won’t listen to reason, it may be time to seek more information about your legal options. Preserving your parent-child relationship is of the utmost importance.

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