Can my ex refuse me visitationwith my son?

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Can my ex refuse me visitationwith my son?

My ex has custody of our son and since we have established visitation I have moved 30 minutes over the state line for school. He feels that because I’m no longer in state lines he doesn’t have to grant me my visitation and has refused me to see my son. I am behind on child support but it is taken out of my pay check. Is it legal for him to keep my son from me?

Asked on February 11, 2012 under Family Law, Ohio


Nicholas Dubrowsky / The Law Offices of Nicholsa S. Dubrowsky, Esq.

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The short answer is: No he cannot keep your son from you. Child support arrears should not be used against the child's best interest, which is contact with both parents.


But, your child support payment arrears opens up the possibility of a violation petition if your ex can prove your non-payment is willful-a willful violation comes with an arrest warrant and, perhaps, incarceration.


Your answer depends on what you mean when you say "established" you visitation. If you were married and then divorced, was the visitation schedule specified in your divorce decree? Was visitation established by a family court order?


·If there is no court order concerning visitation:


Then you need to go to your child's "home state", to the family court in your ex's county, and file a visitation petition. This is a relatively straight-forward procedure. The clerical staff at the petition window will assist you. Once you submit your name and fill out preliminary information you will wait for court personnel to call your name and help with filling out your petition.


Next, your case will be heard in front of a family court judge. The judge will call your case and will tell you that you need to "personally serve" your ex with the petition you just filed; this means that you have someone over 18 (who is not a party in the case) to hand a copy of the petition and the next court date to your ex.


Assuming that you properly serve your ex, then on the next court date-the court will give you an adjourn date for service-you simply submit a notarized affidavit attesting to service.


·If an order exists in your child's home state:

1.Then, once again, you need to go to the child's "home state" and that order's enforcement and file a petition alleging a violation of the Court Order.

2.If an Order exists, but the Court never specified a visitation schedule in its custody determination then:


i. Either file a visitation petition (see #1 above) or

ii. Return to the child's "home state" and seek a modification the Custody Order to include a set schedule.



If there is an emergency involving your child, then the UCCJEA might apply-but this is rare, and unlikely.


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IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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