Can I Refuse to Send Kids for Court-Ordered Visitation?

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Divorce can be tumultuous, especially when child custody is a highly-contested issue for one or both parents. If one parent has primary custody, the non-custodial parent will likely have court-ordered visitation in order to maintain a relationship with their children. You may not like sending your children to their non-custodial parent, but you must comply with the court order. However, there are some instances where you may be able to legally refuse visitation. Keep reading to learn more about these specific circumstances and how a Bergen County, New Jersey child custody lawyer can help you navigate your parental agreement.

Are There Acceptable Reasons to Refuse Visitation?

Though your children may not like going to their non-custodial parent’s house, it’s vital to ensure you still take the steps to honor the court order.

However, if you believe that your children are mentally, physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, you are legally allowed to refuse to send your children to their parent’s home. Similarly, if you believe they will be neglected through abandonment or failure to meet their basic needs, it can warrant refusal to send your children to the parents. You will need to provide evidence to the court of these concerns.

Finally, older children may be able to relay their feelings to the court and confirm that they would not like to visit the other parent.

What Are the Consequences?

If you refuse to send your children to their non-custodial parent’s home due to illegitimate or malicious reasons, you can face various penalties. New Jersey will evaluate these on a case-by-case basis to ensure each situation is fair and just. Some of the possible penalties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Make-up visitation time
  • Community service for the interfering parent
  • Adjusting the visitation schedule temporarily or permanently
  • Charging the interfering parent with criminal charges

Unless you have legitimate reasons not to send your child to visitation, you could face serious legal trouble as a result.

For example, if you’re hesitant about sending your child because they spend more time with the non-custodial parent’s new partner or you don’t like the snacks they provide your children, it’s not a legitimate reason to withhold visitation. This is a matter of preference and not legitimate fear for your children’s safety and well-being.

When Should I Contact an Attorney?

It is vital to note if you have legitimate concerns, speaking to your attorney before taking any actions is vital. They can help you go to court and to modify the parental agreement. For example, if the non-custodial parent abuses drugs or alcohol, the court can order them to seek treatment and only allow supervised visitation until they complete a program.

If you need help with your child custody agreement, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to protect your child while abiding by the law. HD Family Law is here to help. Our firm has the experience to represent you while ensuring your child’s best interest is first and foremost. Reach out today to schedule a consultation and discuss the details of your case.

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