How can I enforce my visitation rights?

Question:

My ex-wife has refused to allow me visitation with our children after she was able to get a default divorce judgment against me since I wasn’t aware of any divorce proceedings.

The judgment states that my visitation rights will only be enforceable “by application made on behalf of the defendant.”

I have no idea what this “application” is or what my next step should be to get parenting time with my children.

Answer:

I do not practice in Ohio, so I can only advise you as to the specific laws of the state I am licensed to practice in (North Carolina).

In North Carolina, a child custody order can be modified at any time. However, in order to modify an existing permanent child custody order in North Carolina, the moving party must show that there has been a substantial change of circumstances that affects (negatively or positively) the welfare of the minor child.

If sufficient evidence is presented and the moving party meets this burden, the court may make a determination that a modification of the current order is warranted, and the court will modify the custody order in manner that serves the best interest of the child.

In this case, assuming the court in Ohio had jurisdiction over this issue to make an initial determination relevant to custody, and pursuant to the law in North Carolina, the party seeking a modification must file the appropriate motion or make an “application” to the court for the court to consider a modification.

In North Carolina, the first step is to file the appropriate motion and allege that there has been a substantial change of circumstances affecting the welfare of the minor child. If this burden is met and the court determines a modification is justified, it may modify the custody order to allow for visitation if it is in the child’s best interest.

You should consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction as the information I have provided is only general in nature. Cordell & Cordell represents men in divorce nationwide.

 

Aisha Pridgen is an Associate Attorney in the Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina offices of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic law. Ms. Pridgen received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.

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