What do I do if my son refuses to follow the visitation order?

Question: I have two sons, and the oldest refuses to follow the visitation order and come and see me. My ex wife told him if I signed off my rights to him that her new husband could adopt him, which apparently my oldest son wants to happen.

I don’t want to sign off my rights to my son, but he refuses to see me. I will not be happy paying child support, medical, etc, for a child that refuses to have me in his life.

What can I do to win fighting to see him or to sign off my rights?

Answer:

First, I am not licensed to practice law in Ohio and you should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Ohio before taking action.

A visitation order is not in place for children, or custodial parents, to choose whether or not follow. It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure the order is being followed or risk being held in contempt of court. An option for you is to file a Motion for Contempt of Court.

This would put the burden on your ex-wife’s shoulders to show she couldn’t or had good reason not to follow the order. You are right, your son should not be allowed to skip his visits simply because he does not want to.

You need to continue to attempt to see your son, and document those attempts. Chronicle when your conversations with your ex-wife take place, when and how you try to speak or see your sons, and any other noteworthy events. You might consider attempting to attend therapy with your son to show your willingness to address whatever concerns are present.

Another option is to terminate your parental rights. This is a drastic measure and should absolutely not be undertaken without consulting with an attorney. You should know that just because your rights are terminated doesn’t mean your financial responsibility for your son ends.

If your ex’s new husband did not adopt him, your financial responsibility would continue, less your ability to petition the court for enforcement of visitation.

 

Nancy R. Shannon, a Nebraska native, is an Associate Attorney in the Omaha, Nebraska office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed in the state of Nebraska where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Shannon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Doane College and her Juris Doctor from University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she was a finalist in a Moot court competition and active in Client Counseling activities.

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