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child refuse

In What Situation Can I Refuse To Comply With Court-Ordered Child Visitation?

Sharing custody of your child can be a difficult situation no matter the circumstances. However, court-ordered custody arrangements can become even more stressful if you worry about the well-being of your child while they are visiting another parent or guardian. Many co-parents wonder if they can ever legally refuse visitation rights for their children. To learn more, read this blog or reach out to an Ocean County Child Custody Attorney today!


This entirely depends on the situation, but most of the time, no. Unless you have a legitimate reason to believe your child could be in danger of harm or kidnapping, you cannot legally refuse to send your child to court-ordered visitation. This is because child custody arrangements are legally binding, and parents must follow the agreements or else risk penalties. You could even face criminal charges for breaking the agreement, and a possible punishment could be community service. Even if you aren’t charged criminally, the court might allow the other parent/guardian to have extra make-up visitation time or alter the custody arrangements to give them more legal responsibility for the child. Again, you only risk these penalties if you don’t have a valid reason for breaking the agreement. For example, you can’t refuse visitation rights for a petty reason such as disliking your ex’s new partner. If your co-parent made threats of violence or kidnapping, immediately contact an attorney who can help you get full custody of your child so that you can legally refuse visitation rights going forward.


You may be able to win emergency full custody of your child if you prove to the court that you have a legitimate reason to fear for your child during visitation. If your child expresses that they don’t like spending time with the other parent/guardian, this is not enough to refuse visitation. Older children (like teens) have the option of informing the court of their custody preferences, but the judge makes the final decision.

However, if your child tells you that they are facing abuse during their visitation time with the other parent/guardian, you can report the abuse to child protective services and file for emergency full custody on the basis of abuse. If you have reason to suspect the co-parent could attempt to kidnap your child, you can contact your local police. They may freeze your child’s passport to ensure the co-parent doesn’t try to leave the country with your child. They could also issue a notice to other officers in the area to keep an eye out for parental kidnapping.

Are you seeking full custody of your child? Are you looking for an experienced family law attorney who has your best interests in mind? Look no further because the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC is here to fight for you! Contact our firm today for an initial consultation.