In the context of a child custody case, how much control does the custodial parent have over the other parent’s visitation?
Parents & Visitation Rights
Occasionally, a custodial parent attempts to control the other parent’s visitation by dictating where it is to occur or what is allowed during the visitation. Generally, the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent are equal to the custodial parent’s right to choose what is done during their visitation periods. Unless the custodial parent can prove that the noncustodial parent poses a real danger or other substantial detriment to the child, they have no ability to limit visitation. A noncustodial parent’s ongoing issues with drugs, alcohol or mental conditions are often tied to restrictions. Parents who abuse their children, commit family violence, maintain unsafe household conditions or are unable to care for a child with special needs may have restrictions placed on their visitation.
Children & Visitation Rights
But, what if, instead of a parent, it’s a child who wants to limit, exert control over, or even cancel your visitation. That’s a harder question. Children, as they get older, will become more and more involved with friends, school, and extracurricular activities including sports, dance, and youth groups. Eventually, your visitation may be set to occur during a high school football game, or a party or a church trip. As they get older, your kids will naturally be asking to spend more and more time with their friends. (That, by the way, would have happened if you and your spouse were still together.) So, unless you have reliable evidence that the other parent is intentionally scheduling events during your visitation, in order to interfere with your time with your child, or if you can prove that your ex is actively manipulating your child, you should accommodate your child’s reasonable requests to spend time with their friends.
If you believe that your visitation rights are being interfered with, or if it has become evident that restrictions on the noncustodial parents are now necessary, please contact my office at 601-825-3124 to schedule an appointment.