Can the custodial parent deny visitation? 17 Answers as of May 13, 2011

There is currently no order in place for child support. A verbal agreement was made between parties that child support would not be sought but now the custodial parent is demanding child support. The non-custodial parent is, and has been unemployed for five years, due to health issues but is currently seeking employment. Can the custodial parent deny visitation and if not, by what means can this be enforced?

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John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
That depends entirely on the terms of any parenting plan established by a Court. The way you phrase your query suggests you are not married to the other parent and that there has never been any court order affecting parental rights. If that is true, the "custodial parent" can legally deny any contact at all until such time as you acquire specific rights from a court. If there has been a court order granting you visitation (called parenting time in Colorado) it probably doesn't give the other parent arbitrary authority to deny contact, even if you were failing to pay court ordered child support. But, you need to consult an attorney about the exact facts and circumstances so you can determine what you need to do to either obtain, or enforce, parenting rights.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/13/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
The problem with "informal agreements" is that they cannot be enforced. So, can the custodial parent deny visitation, not really, the non-custodial parent has rights too, so the issue is getting possession. You cannot make the other parent turn over the child but the other parent cannot stop you from taking possession of the child either. That is the nature of being without court orders, both parents are deemed equal and as we all know, possession is 9/10ths of the law.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/10/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
In Washington State, the custodial parent can't deny visitation for failure to pay child support. The parenting plan needs to be followed.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/10/2011
Glenn E. Tanner
Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
You don't say whether there is a parenting plan in place. If so,read it and enforce it. If not, petition to have one put in place.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/10/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
If there is no court order in place, you can do anything you want.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, any out of court agreement that is not memorialized as a court order is unenforceable. Second, agreements regarding child support are also not enforceable unless adopted by a court. If the court is asked to deviate from child support guidelines, it must make findings that he deviation is in the child's best interests. An agreement in that regard is generally insufficient. You should consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You do not state if there are visitation orders. If not then you should apply to court for them.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    That is a lousy situation, but this happens fairly often. Call me, and I will assist you.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    In Washington State, you would need to have the court establish a parenting plan so that you will have specific visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You will have to file an Order to Show Cause, or a Paternity action if you were never married. Check with your local Clerk's Office or consult an experienced, local Family Law Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    They are unrelated issues, legally, so nonpayment cannot justify exclusion of visitation rights. You'll have to go to court to get a visitation order. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Verbal agreements are not enforceable. Support issues are separate and apart from custody and visitation. You need to get a custody and visitation order to avoid this being an issue. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If you are unemployed and receiving unemployment insurance benefits, the custodial parent could obtain an order for child support based on your unemployment benefits, her income, and the custodial timeshare. The verbal agreement that she wouldn't seek child support is unenforceable. Regarding visitation, if you have an order for child visitation and the custodial parent isn't allowing visitation, you can file and serve an Order to Show Cause for Contempt and/or an Order to Show Cause to modify Child Custody and Visitation, to request that you get custody of the children. The policy of the legislature and court is that both parents should have frequent and continuing contact with the children, and your Declaration (and testimony) setting forth facts demonstrating that the custodial parent has been preventing you from having frequent and continuing contact with the children may be persuasive to the Court and/or may change the custodial parent's conduct. The custodial parent is not allowed to condition your time with the children upon your payment of support. Those are two different things.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Pisarra and Grist
    Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
    Visitation is not dependent on paying support. You need to fight for your rights by getting a court order for defined visits. Also you can read my book, A MAN'S GUIDE TO CHILD CUSTODY available online and as an E-Book on my website.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    No. a custodial parent cannot deny visitation for lack of child support payments by the non-custodial parent. If the custodial parent denies visitation to the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent should file a motion with the court requesting visitation orders.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
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