Can my ex-wife legally keep my son away from me if I have court ordered visitation rights?

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Can my ex-wife legally keep my son away from me if I have court ordered visitation rights?

what can i do when she does?

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As long as you have a valid court order which grants you the right to see your son, she does not have the legal right to refuse you access to your son.  The limited exception to this rule is if you showed up impaired (i.e. via alcohol or controlled substance). 

You have a couple of different options for dealing with her non-compliance.  The first option will depend on how cooperative your local law enforcement agency is.  You can call the police and ask that you go to her house when it is your designated time for visitation for a "civil standby."  Often, when the police appear, the other parent will relinquish the child.  If she still refuses, you will then have a witness that you were there and that she refused to allow you your period of visitation.

Your second option is to file an enforcement action in the same court that granted the original visitation order.  You can ask that you be granted make-up time with your son and ask that she be required to pay your attorney's fees.  If it continues to be a problem even after an enforcement action, you can petition the court to grant you custody since it appears that she is using the child as a pawn to hurt you, which will eventually affect the mental and emotional health of your son.


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