Visitation interference is pervasive affecting approximately 6 million children nationwide, yet most states disregard enforcing court-ordered parenting time schedules.
The law is swift and severe when child support is unpaid, but when a father is denied access to his child there are few remedies available.
However, Illinois is one of the latest states to protect visitation orders following the recent passage of legislation that applies many of the sanctions available in non-payment of child support cases to those of visitation and access interference.
The “Steve Watkins Bill” is currently awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature to become law. Sanctions would include driver’s license suspension, fines, probation, and possible imprisonment.
Currently, only five states suspend licenses (Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah) and just six states incarcerate for visitation interference (Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas).
How States Enforce Visitation Interference
• Some states define visitation interference synonymously with custody interference (Idaho, Texas, Washington).
• Visitation interference is grounds for suspending alimony or maintenance (New York).
• Penalty fees up to $500 (Minnesota, Pennsylvania).
• Penalty fees can be up to $1,000 (Montana, Michigan).
• Suspension of licenses (Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah).
• Incarceration (Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas).
• Change in custody (Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Vermont, Washington).
• The posting of a bond (Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma).
• Child Support Abatement (Missouri).
Read Related Articles:
Visitation Interference Stats
• Approximately 50% of mothers see no value in the father‘s continued contact with his children.
• Mothers may prevent visits to retaliate against the fathers for problems in their marital or post marital relationship.
• 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father‘s visitation on at least one occasion, to punish their ex-spouse.
• The courts’ failure to enforce or expand visitation agreements are a frequently mentioned complaint.
• Interviewing more than 100 children researchers concluded that in most cases it was true that visitation was blocked, and that there was no justification for it.
For additional facts and source information, please view the PDF provided by Robert Ferrer, who researched the issue for Illinois Fathers.
20 comments on “How Do States Enforce Visitation Interference?”
I suggest that courts allow child support to be placed into an escrow account in cases where a custodial parent is denying a noncustodial parent’s access to their children.
If the custodial parent claims that depriving them of the child support hurts the children, the family court judge could consider allowing an amount not to exceed what the custodial parent would get from welfare to be released to the custodial parent. This would require documentation of expenses such as a threat of eviction because the rent wasn’t being paid or a utility disconnect notice.
If there is a change of custody, the paying parent would get the money held in escrow back so that they could spend it on the child.
If the amount of money held in escrow exceeds a certain percentage of the weekly child support order (say 300%?), the receiving parent would be required to provide an accounting to make sure that the money was actually spent on the children.
I realize that there are details that would need to be worked out, but there are custodial parents who consider children to be paychecks. It’s past time for there to be consequences for custodial parents who won’t let the noncustodial parent be a part of the children’s lives while making sure that the child support is actually spent on the children.
Ive been dealing with this for years. My divorce was finalized in Oklahoma. I saw my son once when he was 2 years old. after that my ex wife moved to Italy(she was stationed there) and once that happened she slowly started restricting my access to my son. I was by no means a model husband but I was never abusive. we separated a few weeks before Brendan was born so my son was never subject to any foul language or anything related from me. My ex wife now lives somewhere in California with her new husband and has since deleted her phone number, email address, and I have no idea where she lives. she has blocked me on fb so I cant find my son etc. I have submitted a request for enforcement through Oklahoma however they don’t do anything it is my responsibility to discover her address and serve her. I think this is bullshit and the courts should be ashamed. shame on these civil servants that step on the hands of fathers nationwide. I think its atrocious that the minute I don’t pay my child support I have letters and deputies at my door but when my ex wife blatenly disregards my rights as a father despite the visitation order signed by a judge that the court system turns a blind eye. my son is now 7 years old and I am certain he doesn’t remember a single thing about me. I have been in a serious relationship for 7 years after my ex wife and we both love Brendan however funds have always been tight and therefore I cannot afford an attorney which is why I haven’t retained one. I feel like shit daily because I cant have a relationship with my son, I feel like a deadbeat dead and I constantly have to remind myself that this isn’t my doing and that one day it will be corrected, this however does not make me feel better as one day may be too late. I hope that the politicians can get their act together and hold these court officials responsible for their inability to perform their duties as public servants. screw them all.
My husband has been going through this for years with his ex wife. Any time his life is going well she almost always retaliates with not allowing him to see the child. She has never been held in contempt and blatantly lied on the stand in court. Nothing was done. It has now been 2 years since we have seen him and he only lives 2 counties below us! Her reason now is because he was physically abused by everyone in our home on the last visit. Even my minor child!!! But if child support wasn’t paid you can bet he would be in jail or have no license. He suffers greatly and all because a vengeful toxic ex who is angry because we got married! It’s a joke how the justice system treats you guys who try to do right by your children.
So what are our options? We see and are well aware of the corruption and incompetence. Black lives matter so we riot. Fathers rights matter so what do we do? Its only a matter of time before a father loses it, then in the aftermath people will see the problem, without changing it. What do we do? I’m only one person, but with every father or mother going through the same issues in any state we would be many. Flooding the government, courts and media with petitions, motions, lawsuits and even letters simply stating the issue, at some point they will have to change something. It’s easy to ignore one person. Hard to dismiss millions.
I said the EXACT same thing! Options are few ( listening to the friend of the courts message board is proof) Good Fathers matter, and it is still a popular topic to demonize all while not improving any condition for the Father. A lot of Fathers try but give in to the Mothers vile, and cases are not like this everywhere but I would think a developed nation would be able to reverse this simple trend to the positive end as the issue are the CHILDREN not the parents. It just make sense to have the Child comfortable in both houses. every other week is just 100 hours! that is all, I was the only one in uproar, no one hears me though after 7 years.
The above article is not valid. They have done several studies on why mothers flee with their children and it has been noted over and over that in the majority of cases when a mother flees or denies parenting time it is because they are trying to protect their children. In these same studies it has also been noted that a common ploy in family court is for an abusive father to claim parental alienation. It has been noted in these same studies that many father’s groups are formed by fathers that have a history of abuse. We have a huge problem in our country with violence and we wonder why. We need better laws to protect our children so future generations can heal.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than they way in which it treats it’s children.”–Nelson Mandela
A lot of mother’s use the “abusive father” card to have the law on their side when the situation may have not ever happened to begin with just a way women manipulate the system to win in court and keep the father from the child and collect child support from him and he’s left with no gain or assistance while the system helps the mother to the fullest it is what I consider unconstitutional
It has also been noted that there are mothers who intentionally keep their children from seeing their father due to being resentful. I am married to one of these guys and I have experienced first hand. So don’t assume that ALL men who don’t see their children are at fault. BECAUSE THEY ARENT! Ridiculous!
SO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON VALID DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE CASES?!?!
IS IT THE FATHERS “RIGHT” TO HAVE ACESS TO CHILDREN THAT HE PHYSICALLY AND SEXUALLY ABUSES?
IS THE EX-WIFE “RETALIATORY” IF THE FATHER WAS ARRESTED MANY TIMES FOR SEVERALLY BEATING AND EVENTUALLY TRYING TO KILL THE MOTHER?
A FATHER THAT COULDN’T EVEN BEHAVE WHILE ON SUPERVISED PROBATION, AND WHEN A NCO IS IN PLACE.
AND I AM REFERRING TO CASES THAT HAVE SOLID EVIDENCE, LONG PAPER TRAILS, THE FATHER WAS FOUND GUILTY OF DOMESTIC BATTERY IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS CHILDREN.
WHAT THEN GUYS??? IS IT FAIR AS A MOTHER, TO BE TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL WHEN ALL SHE IS DOING IS KEEPING HERSELF FROM BEING MURDERED AND HER CHILDREN FROM BEING BEAT AND MOLESTED? SHOULD THE FATHER BE ABLE TO KEEP LITIGATING, WHEN THE EVIDENCE IS STACKED SO HIGH AGAINST THEM?
NOT ALL CASES OR PEOPLE ARE THE SAME, AND COURTS SHOULD STOP ACTING LIKE IT. THE KIDS ARE WHO GET HURT THE WORST. NO CHILD SHOULD EVER BE MADE TO GO BACK TO THEIR ABUSER…EVER!
No one said anything about a father that had abused his children continuing to see them. They are simply stating that as the father they have rights also. WHICH THEY DO REGARDLESS OF WHAT THESE DEAD BEAT MOTHERS THINK!!!!
with holding visitation
For all of you out there that are saying it is always the dad that has visits with held, let me break the news there are dads that are with holding visits just as much as the moms are. There are not only dead beat dads there are aslo dead beat moms. Just saying
Have the Judge appoint a DEPUTY from Division of Family Services
I had this problem for years… I got the idea to have her agree to a Deputy from division of Family Services to be an unbiased observer, your lawyer could make it seem like it’s her and her lawyers idea.
The first time after we were appointed the Deputy, I called and she immedietly called my ex and I never had a problem with visition from that moment on… and this was after 8 years of in court, slap the ex’s hand and repeat…..
Courts have contempt for visitation rights
Judges refuse to enforce vistation rights. Non custodial parents have to PAY a lawyer to get visitation rights. Half the time judges don’t enforce them or slap the parent refusing visitation on the wrist. The system is unfair and corrupt. A total joke. I hope a higher power will in time deal with these gutless judges.
Yes I agree they’ll arrest a non custodial parent for failure to pay child support but no jail for the custodial parent preventing visitation… The problem with the family law system is they have to many women working for them who despise men from their previous experiences and to many men working for them thinking with the wrong head put those 2 factors together and a man is screwed in the court room
I have dealt with this sh!t for the past 4 years and it only gets worse. In my opinion the courts care absolutely ZERO about a father’s rights and visitation schedule NONE!
We are in a position that was at one time the exception. We have custody of my husbands four children. (three of them are now 18 and older) Mom has decided not to visit, not to follow the court ordered visitation or even work with us when our schedules conflict.
Bio mother refuses her visitation then likes to go all over the web and play the victim. She loves to say that she had visitation withheld but that is far from the truth. We have always tried to work with visitation including having the children read for her to pick up and she would not show up. She loved the internet forum because she would not win that issue in court as we have always been ready for her to show up for her visitation even tried to have the court force her to visit only to be told we can not force her to be mom.
I even tried to get all her children even the older ones for a mall trip to see her as they have not seen her in ages and that blew up in my face. I’ve always wanted them to be able to count on her it just seems like she is more interested in being the victim then being mom to her children. So I guess it just depends on the person as to whom does what to visitation. I don’t think there is one answer that fits all. IF visitation is being blocked then it should be taking to court as many times as it takes someone to listen. It should be about the children not the adults. The children should be able to have both parents in their life. It does require both parents to work together.
Courts don’t enforce visitation because there is no profit in it.
Under the Child Support and Performance Act, states are rewarded for increasing child support collections, and one of the ways that they do that is to restrict our access to our children.
Child support isn’t about the children anymore.
It’s about profit, power, greed, and control for the state.
Pro Per in CA
Forced to be a pro per in court due to lack of funds. As non-custodial parent I have been fighting to remain in my daughter’s life. CA allowed father to move out of state. He has been in violation of court orders for the past 6 yrs. CA has never found him in contempt and has never enforced the order. 6 volumes of court docket, judge blamed me for it. All court hearings were to enforce or violation of orders. To make a long story short, CA now relinquished jurisdiction to WA state. CA got tired of me going back to court fighting to stay in my child’s life. Now I have to appeal for improper decline of jurisdiction. Exclusive and continued jurisdiction; I still live here! More heartache, headache, frustration and less remedy to continue a relationship with my daughter. The courts have no respect for pro pers. We are a thorn in their eye. Researching now how to enforce an out of state order in WA state. Family law is without any check and balance.
pro per in California
I filed 10 affidavitt for contempt of interferance of my visitation. The court found mom in violation of 182 days of interferance. the Judge senteced her on 82 days suspended 100 and told her if she did not comply with the orders he was goin to change custody. this was June 11 2012. mom since is still not in complance I have filed 4 since June 11, and as of tonight will be filing 3 more July 9.. Keep filing the court will get tired of see us fathers in court, it will give soon or later. It took me 6 months of filing contempt violations stay with it children are presious love them do hate them..