Your child custody, visitation and support orders that were created when you and your ex parted were very likely the most contentious and emotionally-charged part of your divorce agreement. These orders are based on the facts of the case, federal law and most importantly, the best interest of the child. If you disagree with the orders, or are having issues with certain aspects of them, you should understand that you may not simply change or adjust them as you see fit, even if your ex agrees with the changes. Visitation is usually set out very specifically in your agreement, so read on to learn more about how to handle visitation problems.
While everything that concerns minor children is important and all decisions are guided by law and family court principles, each and every issue is separate. This means that there is no connection between child support and visitation; each issue stands on its own, with its own order. If your ex is failing to pay child support as ordered, you must take action according to the law, which normally involves a call to child support enforcement. You cannot prevent your ex from spending time with your children because they are behind on child support payments, however.
The emotional issues of divorce and visitation can become even more problematic when the non-custodial parent becomes involved in a new relationship. Simply put, not only can you not deny visitation because you don't like the new partner your ex has chosen, you probably won't get very far if you request a hearing to have visitation changed for that reason. Additionally, minor visitation issues like the non-custodial parent's occasional cancellations, bringing the child home late, and allowing the child to consume too much candy should not be brought to the attention of the family courts. To prompt a change in visitation, you must present a compelling reason, such as those listed below.
If there is any evidence of child abuse, you must contact the police right away and file a report. You can get an emergency temporary suspension of visitation privileges if you have good cause. Contact your divorce attorney for support. You may be able to have your visitation orders permanently altered if the abuse allegations are proven.
Just as with child abuse, drug or alcohol abuse should prompt an emergency suspension. A word of warning, however. You must be prepared to prove the allegations of substance abuse (and anything else). The family courts do not look kindly on parents who take up the court's time with false allegations and you may even end up losing custody of your child if you are found to have been making accusations to prevent visitation.
Dealing with visitation problems requires a level of cooperation between parents that can be very taxing and challenging. Make sure that you are going through the proper channels when problems arise, and count on your family law attorney's help and support.