Is Withholding Visitation Against the Law in Florida?
At the Law Offices of Denise Miller, our divorce attorney in Stuart, Florida understands that not everyone who gets divorced is excited about their custody agreements, as the idea of splitting your children’s time takes some getting used to.
However, the last thing you should want is for something, or someone, to prevent you from seeing the children, simply because they are unhappy with the court-ordered decision.
Violating a court order can often have severe consequences.
Here is why.
Legally Binding Visitation Agreements are Ordered by the Court
Child custody and visitation agreements that are either agreed upon by the parents and submitted to the court for approval or are dictated directly by a judge — when the parents cannot agree on their own — are legally binding once they are finalized.
Withholding visitation, not returning the children on schedule, or even not paying child support, are all considered violations of the legally binding court order.
Why Would One Florida Parent Withhold Visitation from the Other?
Contentious divorces are often the result of contentious marriages, which can lead to retaliatory behavior by one or both parents. Simply put, parents will inadvertently put their children in the middle of their combative behavior by withholding visitation, failing to pay child support, or even by picking up the kids or dropping them off late.
Common reasons custodial parents withhold visitation may include:
- Feeling angry or slighted after the divorce
- Not trusting the other parent can care for the children
- Retaliation for the other parent’s actions
- Late or lacking child support payments
- The other parent is often late, or do not adhere to their side of the visitation agreements
Unfortunately, it is impossible to control another person’s actions, so retaliating against the non-custodial parent by withing visitation is only hurting the children.
Can Visitation Be Withheld if Child Support is Not Being Paid?
The short answer is, no.
Visitation should not be withheld for any reason unless exchanging the children will put them in imminent danger. If that is true, get help from law enforcement officials right away, and schedule an appointment with your child custody attorney to return to court to address the hazards directly.
If the children are not in harm’s way, continue to follow the set parenting plan and take the child support payment issue to the family court system.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Child Custody Attorney Today for a Free Initial Consultation
If you have questions about your child custody agreement or how to pursue modification, contact our experienced family law attorney in Martin County at the Law Office of Denise Miller by calling (772) 934-6007 to discuss your circumstances and learn more about your legal rights, options, and potential solutions today.