Can I be held in contempt if there is no court ordered visitation agreement?

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Can I be held in contempt if there is no court ordered visitation agreement?

I recently moved to OH from KY with the permission of the KY family court. The non-custodial parent and I declined mediation to create a new visitation agreement. Because the non-custodial parent has no vehicle, he says that if I do not provide all transportation between states for visitation, he will file contempt charges against me. I am willing to meet him halfway for all potential visitations but I cannot afford to do all the transportation both ways. Will I be held in contempt even if there is no agreed visitation order and the non-custodial parent refuses to provide any help?

Asked on December 4, 2011 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding whether you can be held in contempt of court, even though there is no existing court-ordered visitation order.  Custody, child support, and visitation can be difficult issues to address, since every situation is unique, and the court will always examine what is in the best interest of the child.  Sometimes what the court views as the best interest of the child, is not the best interest of the parents.  While a parent may want to explore new scenery and move far away to an exotic land, the court may not think this is the best interest for the child to move away from their other parent.   

When a court determines custody and visitation, the court will often consider which parent is more likely to keep the relationship with the ongoing.  The parent who is more willing to support the continued relationship between the child and other parent, may be the parent who maintains custody of the child.

At this time you could not be held in contempt, because contempt refers to violating a court’s order.  However, if your ex files for custody and a visitation arrangement is court-ordered and you do not comply with the court’s order, you can be found in contempt.  Sometimes the court allows a parent to move with the child if that parent will bear the costs of visitation with the other parent. 

There are a number of factors to consider, and you may find it helpful to contact a family law attorney in your area that can guide you through this process.

 


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