Though you may not agree with the court-ordered visitation your spouse has with your child, you must still abide by it. Otherwise, you may jeopardize the child custody agreement that you worked so hard to reach. Read on to discover why you should not refuse to send your child for court-ordered visitation and how a seasoned Bergen County child custody attorney can help you petition for a post-judgment modification if necessary.
Under what circumstances should a parent not have visitation rights?
You need to remember that, even if you have been granted sole physical and legal custody of your child, your spouse may still have been granted visitation rights. This is because the New Jersey courts try to maintain the relationship between a child and both of their parents. The only reasons why the New Jersey courts may not grant visitation rights to a parent are as follows:
- If a parent is proven to be violent, whether it be physically, verbally, emotionally, or sexually abusing their child.
- If a parent is proven to have a history of abducting or kidnapping their child.
- If a parent is proven to have a history of substance abuse.
- If a parent is proven to have a history of being incarcerated.
Why should I not refuse to send my child for court-ordered visitation?
Understandably, you may refuse to send your child for their court-ordered visitation if you believe that they are in immediate danger with their other parent. However, there are preventive measures you should take before violating your court-ordered visitation schedule. That is, in emergencies, you should first contact law enforcement and/or child support services.
And to officially prevent your child from spending time with their other parent, you must file a petition for a post-judgment modification. In this petition, you must prove that your child’s other parent threatens your child’s wellbeing (i.e., they are violent or exhibit harmful behavior, have an addiction or criminal record, etc). This petition must be processed through the legal system, and the decision is ultimately made by the New Jersey court. And so, you cannot refuse to send your child to their court-ordered visitation on a whim and without a court order. If you do, you may risk losing your custody over your child, or even worse, you may lose your parental rights over your child altogether.
Nonetheless, you should not intervene and harm your child’s relationship with their other parent, especially if there is no critical reason to do so. You should also not force your child to pick a side when there is a scheduling conflict. This allows your former spouse the opportunity to bring this violation to the New Jersey court’s attention, and you may have to suffer its consequences.
If you require additional guidance, contact a competent Bergen County family law attorney today.