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37 Calumet Parkway, ​Building N
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Newnan, Georgia 30263

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Common Visitation Violations and What to Do About Them

Child custody after a divorce can be a source of perpetual friction between ex-spouses. Some of the most troublesome problems concern visitation, also known in Georgia as parenting time. This generally occurs when the custodial parent intrudes upon the other parent’s rights as set forth in the custody order. When this occurs, the noncustodial parent has legal remedies available.

Violation of visitation rights can occur in a number of ways, some intentional and others the result of carelessness. Here are the most common instances:

  • Blocking or withholding visitation — The custodial parent refuses to let the other parent have their scheduled visitation with the child.
  • Denying visitation because the other parent is not paying child support — The custodial parent improperly withholds visitation as leverage to enforce payment.
  • Missing or cutting short scheduled visitation — The custodial parent repeatedly misses scheduled exchanges of the child for visitation, arrives significantly late or shortens the visit by picking the child up early.
  • Interfering with communication between the child and the other parent — The custodial parent blocks calls or texts from the other parent or otherwise stands in the way of communication.
  • Taking the child on unauthorized trips — The custodial parent fails to comply with restrictions in the custody order on the length or destination of trips, which can interfere with the other parent’s scheduled parenting time.

The first step you should take if your co-parent violates a custody order is to record the violation, such as by placing a note on your calendar or sending an email to yourself. Try to engage the other parent in a constructive conversation. If you are not able to communicate amicably with the other parent, consider sending an email describing the violation and asking that no more violations occur. Without sounding threatening, indicate that if violations persist, you may have to notify your lawyer.

If violations of the order continue, a Georgia child custody attorney can file a motion in court to enforce the child custody order and to hold the other parent in contempt for noncompliance. Courts have several ways to enforce visitation rights. The court may order additional parenting time for the parent who missed out on visitation. It can also order the custodial parent to pay the costs and legal fees that the other parent incurred to enforce the order. Another option is for the court to order the custodial parent to attend parenting classes.

Violation of a child custody order is a crime in Georgia, so in the worst-case scenario, the judge can refer the case for criminal prosecution. Criminal charges are reserved only for the most flagrant violations of custody orders, such as absconding with the child.

The Law Office of S. Mark Mitchell, LLC in Newnan helps Georgia parents resolve custody and visitation disputes. Call {PHONE} or contact me online to schedule a consultation.