Divorce Advice For Fathers On Denying Visitation Due To Neglect

mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

I am a divorced dad with full child custody of my son, and my ex-wife has a limited visitation schedule over the summers.

Every time my son comes back from parenting time with his mother he is a complete mess, i.e. dirty clothes, not properly fed, verbal skills are diminished, etc.

I don’t want my young son’s growth impeded by his mother’s horrid parenting style.

Do we have reasonable cause to deny her visitation the next time she attempts to exercise her parenting time?


I am not licensed to practice law in your state so I cannot offer legal advice on divorce. However, I can give you a general answer that may be helpful to you.

You cannot deny visitation without a court order changing the visitation schedule.

In the state I practice in (Illinois), if you deny visitation without a court order changing the visitation, you can be held in contempt of court, and even face criminal liability under the Illinois Visitation Interference Law.

In order to change the current visitation schedule, you will need to go to court to modify the order. If you can show that the visitation poses an imminent danger to the child – for example that the other parent is physically or emotionally abusing or neglecting the child – you should be able to get into court on an emergency basis to resolve the issue almost immediately.

If you are unable to show that the visitation poses an imminent danger to the child, you may still be able to modify the visitation schedule. However, you may not be able to do so before the next scheduled visitation if it is soon.

In order to modify the visitation schedule, you will need to show that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances of the child or the parents since the time that the original order was entered and that the modification of visitation is in the best interest of the child.

You should contact a qualified domestic relations law firm, such as Cordell & Cordell, as soon as possible to discuss your options for modifying the visitation schedule. I also suggest you seek advice in our divorce forum from fellow divorced dads.

To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Erin Brockhoff, an Associate Attorney in the Belleville, Illinois office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Divorce Advice For Fathers On Denying Visitation Due To Neglect

    What is considered neglect?
    I am only licensed in North Carolina and therefore my analysis of your question will focus on how North Carolina courts may handle the question. Cordell & Cordell has offices nationwide if you need advice specific to your state: http://cordellcordell.com/offices

    In North Carolina child custody law, a neglected juvenile is defined as “A juvenile who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline, or discipline from the juvenile’s parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker; who has not been abandoned; or who is not provided necessary medical care; or who is not provided necessary remedial care; who lives in an environment injurious to the juvenile’s welfare; or who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law.”

    In North Carolina, for your husband to change the child custody schedule, he would have to prove a “substantial change of circumstance which affects the best interest of the children.” This change of circumstance must be from the time the Order was entered to the time he would file the Motion.

    Therefore, if these things were going on when the Order was entered, they may not be relevant to a determination on whether a substantial change of circumstances has taken place. The focus is the time period from the time the Order was entered to the time of the filing of the Motion.

    Andrea Miller is a Staff Attorney in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Miller is licensed in the state of North Carolina. Ms. Miller received her undergraduate degree in History and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in law school, she on the Client Counseling Team for Moot Court and became a board member. Ms. Miller also participated in UNC’s Legal Assistance Clinic whereby she helped represent indigent clients obtain legal counsel primarily in the area of domestic relations.

    I am curious, my husbands ex wife has recently had their heat shut off due to non payment along with the cable bill. Although I understand that it is not imperative for a child to have cable, my fear is that we know she is also late on paying the water bill and how soon will she not be able to pay her electric bill. I want to know if my husband has a leg to stand on to gain full custody to put this child in a home with a regular schedule and a house that can provide warm food and shelter?

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