Depending on the relationship between parents, determining visitation can be either a smooth process or a highly difficult one. The best scenario is when parents are able to work out their arrangements together and obtain a judge’s approval. However, in highly contentious situations, this is not likely to happen, and then a judge will take control and decide what is best for the child. The judge will put forth a custody order detailing who has physical and legal custody as well as what the schedule will be for visitation. The schedule will include dates, times, locations, holidays, and summer break. If a custody order has been put forth, both of the parents are required to follow it. If you find yourself in a difficult situation where your child is refusing to attend visits, you could potentially face legal recourse if you do not handle the situation properly.
It is the role of the parent to act reasonably while adhering to the custody order by making the child available for each designated visit. If there is an issue with a visit, such as a sick child, the parent must inform the other parent of the issue and then reschedule the visit soon after. While a judge may provide more wiggle room for parents of older children, like teenagers, who are unwilling to cooperate with set visitations, they are not likely to have the same patience for parents of babies or toddlers in the same situation. Younger children require parents to be more active in getting visitations done.
Liability for Contempt
Failure to adhere to the custody order and have your child make the required visitations with the other parent could place you in danger of facing contempt charges. A parent who is not seeing the children via the custody agreement can respond by filing an Order to Show Cause with the court. This can be done when parents are preventing visits as well as in cases in which the children are refusing to visit. If you are faced with an Order to Show Cause because your child is being difficult when it comes to visitation, you will be challenged with proving to the court that the failure to meet the visitations is not because of you, but because of the will of your child.
If you cannot make the visitations and you cannot prove that it is not your fault, you could be found in contempt of the court order. This is not a desirable result for a parent, which is why having the help of an Indiana child custody and parenting time attorney is so important.
What to do With a Difficult Child Refusing Visits
As soon as you start experiencing issues with a difficult child who will not adhere to visits, be proactive and get in front of the situation. Notify the child’s other parent as soon as you can with traceable documentation such as an email or text so that you have proof of the problem and your role in trying to resolve it. In addition to contacting your ex-partner, you should also immediately contact your Danville child custody lawyer. It could be helpful to have the other parent get involved in the situation so that there is a documentable shared responsibility. All of these things can help strengthen your case and keep you from being held in contempt. However, if you suspect there is abuse occurring which is leading to the child’s difficult behavior, this is another reason you need to speak with your Indiana child custody lawyer.
Christopher L. Arrington, P.C. is a resourceful Danville, Indiana child custody lawyer. If you are facing a difficult situation regarding the division of parenting time and issues with visitation, call my Danville divorce law firm at 317-745-4494 today so we can discuss the details of your circumstances during a free consultation.