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Can a Parent Refuse Visitation Without a Court Order?

parent with child

Following a separation or divorce, individuals often experience a sense of relief as a significant amount of stress is lifted off their shoulders. However, it’s imperative to prepare for the challenges of co-parenting, as complex issues can arise when parents raise a child separately. In cases where one spouse and one parent have sole custody, the court may grant the other parent parenting time to preserve the child’s best interests. The court recognizes it is in a child’s best interest to have a regular and ongoing relationship with both parents. Nevertheless, custodial parents often question whether there are circumstances under which they can refuse non-custodial parents visitation rights. Please keep reading to learn when you can deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent and how a trusted Ocean County Child Custody Attorney can help you today. 

Can a Custodial Parent Deny Visitation?

If you’re a custodial parent, you may wonder whether you can deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent if there is a custody agreement or order. Unfortunately, you cannot deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent without a court order. While you may have valid reasons for denying visitation, you cannot just stop visits without the court’s permission. It’s crucial to comply with the court order.

If you fail to do so, you could be held in contempt of court and face serious consequences such as fines, community services, or even jail time. The court may find it appropriate to order the custodial parent to take a parenting class, or they could alter an existing order and strip the custodial parent of custody. You cannot deny visitation to the non-custodial parent without a court order.

What Should You Do If  You Don’t Believe a Non-Custodial Parent Should Have Visitation Rights?

If you don’t believe it’s in your child’s best interest to continue visiting with the non-custodial parent, you must petition the court to modify the existing custody arrangement. However, you must prove to the court that a substantial change in circumstances would warrant modifying the existing order.

If you suspect abuse or neglect, you can file an emergency petition with the court to quickly have the existing custody order modified. Nonetheless, you must have solid evidence of wrongdoing that proves the non-custodial parent should not have visitation rights.

You can petition the court if your child doesn’t want to see their other parent. This means the court will only partially consider the child’s preferences when determining whether to modify the existing custody order. Ultimately, it depends on the child’s age and reasoning for no longer wanting to spend time with the other parent.

If you want to petition the court to modify an existing custody order, please don’t hesitate to contact a compassionate Ocean County child custody attorney from the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC. Our legal team is prepared to help you safeguard your child’s best interests.