child's mother withholding visitation

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Latest post Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:26 AM by superman1. 6 replies.
  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 9:48 AM

    • SJprig
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    child's mother withholding visitation

    My husband has specific dates outlined in his court document about what dates he gets to have visitation with his daughter.  We live in TN and his daughter lives in IL with her mother most of the time.  He has NEVER missed a visit and she came to stay with us for 5 weeks this summer.  She will be 7 in October.  Her mother is now saying that we are not allowed to see her anymore and when we drive up for the next visit she will not let his daughter go with us (the papers say we get her for 3 days on this holiday).  She has told his daughter this and his daughter believes it.  We are not behind on any child support and there are no pending court cases.  We are trying to decide how best to handle this situation.  We thought our best bet would be to drive up with court papers in hand and when his daughter is withheld to call the police then and there and file a report.  Can anyone help?  Anyone been through this?  What do we do.  She loves her father very much and this is just horrible!

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:02 AM In reply to

    Re: child's mother withholding visitation

    That "might" work, but I don't think it will.

    I had court papers in my hand, and my ex wife called the police.  The police were totally on her side, and didn't seem to care if I was carrying tablets from God himself.  They threatened to arrest me for trepassing (I still actually owned the property, small little detail really).

    I solved my problem by calling my lawyer, and taking my ex wife to court.  And when she refused again, I took her to court again.  I kept doing that til the judge eventually threatened to throw her into jail.  That, along with a visitation mediator helped my problem.

    You can try calling the police, but I tend to think they either won't get involved or they will be against you.  

    In my case, the cop looked at my license, and asked me how do I know you won't take these girls off to SC?  Actually, even if I had, so long as I had them back by the end of the weekend, I was completely within what was ordered by the court.

    Good luck.

     

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:07 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
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    Re: child's mother withholding visitation

    Whether or not Dad is current on CS is not a legal reason to withhold court ordered visitation so lets not go there.

    IL police are quite unlikey to assist --and probably will refuse to do so.

    Is it an IL order or a TN order?

    Dad is smart to review options with lawyer first.

    Has she put her refusal into writing or email or some conversation which was lawfully recorded--may help if Dad can acquire same.

     In general she can make threats and blow hot air--but the only way to lock in a violation of order is for Dad to appear at the correct time and place to pick up his daughter and to be denied same --and have reliable witness to same.  Then Dad goes back after Mom and her pocket book in court for contempt and seeks legal costs/sanctions(if allowed) , make up time etc

    And Dad makes it crystal clear with trail, he will be there as per order --leave no room for Mom to say--ghee--I thought you told me you were not comming and we went to  Lake Mudville instead that day!

    Oral comments as to not allowing visitation are probaly not enough and I suspect she will deny having made those precise comments.



  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:19 AM In reply to

    Re: child's mother withholding visitation

    There is not much Dad can do prior to Mom denying visitation unfortunately.  He cannot file anything with the court to prevent it from happening.  However, he CAN keep telling child he will be there on this day and he wouldn't miss it for the world.  He CAN send a very polite yet firm letter to Mom telling her when he will be there and that he expects her full cooperation with the court order or he will file contempt charges against her in court and seek his lawyer fees and travel expenses associated.  He must follow through with it or Mom will think of him as a doormat.

    This situation happened to my husband.  He had court ordered visitation for a Feb school vacation a few years ago.  The order required me or my husband to fly 3000 miles away, pick up the child from her mother at the airport, and return for the week... and then fly her home.  Mom kept telling my husband that child didn't want to come and was afraid of flying (although they had gone to Disney like 10 times by that point via airplane) and she would not be putting child on the plane.  His lawyer send a very well worded letter to her and her attorney.  Mom still ended up completely disregarding order and was a no show at the airport.  Dad filed contempt against Mom, won 100% of his lawyer fees ($6k) AND cost of the plane tickets, my missed time off work (I was the chaperone), and my expenses (food/hotel/etc) while I was in Mom's state.  Judge ordered Mom to pay 50% of all future travel so she would value the importance of the visits more and ordered Mom to pay for child to go into therapy to get over her "fear of flying".  He almost gave her jail time but my husband pleaded with Judge not to do that.  He said next time he would.

     

    Good luck!  It was a long, expensive road which paid off in the end.  He has to remain firm and follow up on everything!

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:20 AM In reply to

    Re: child's mother withholding visitation

    oh, and if you do take the ex to court, and you can prove she is refusing the visitation, she could potentially end up paying your legal costs.

    I do know at least in my case, when it came to visitation, the judge took that extremely seriously.  It's about the only thing that I saw the judge get visibly angry about.  You can't just ignore court ordered visitation without consequence.

    It's good he's up to date on the child support, and he should of course remain up to date.  But as far as I know, that has absolutely nothing to do with the visitation.  Your husband has court ordered visitation, and his ex wife is going to have to follow it if she wants to keep herself out of trouble.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    I wouldn't let this linger if I were you.  If I were your husband, I would already be on the phone with my lawyer asking him how best to proceed.

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:24 AM In reply to

    Re: child's mother withholding visitation

    Drew also made an excellent point.  When he goes to get his daughter, make sure he has documentation that he's there or a 3rd party witness.  For me, when I went to the airport, I checked in with the ticket counterperson, introduced myself, explained the situation, got his contact info and we took a photo together at the counter with that day's newspaper in hand.  It was never needed in court but you never know.

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 10:26 AM In reply to

    Re: child's mother withholding visitation

    I actually did take my ex wife to court at one point, for refusing visitation on Christmas before the fact.

    I had copied my lawyer on every email we exchanged.

    We took her to court.  I never even had to show up to court, my lawyer handled everything, and she was told by the judge yet another time, if she refused, there were consequences.

    And yes, my visitation with my daughters for Christmas that year approached about $10k total.  I couldn't get my ex to pay my legal fees on that one, since technically she had not yet refused.  She only said she was going to.

    This is not a game for the weak of heart.  It really does take some determination if mom is determined to keep you from seeing your children.

     

     

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