Harrison & Medlin, P.C.
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When visitation time is a danger for kids

Divorced and separated parents may experience frequent conflicts about child custody and visitation time. In most cases, it is best for the children when parents can work together successfully to develop a parenting plan even when their romantic relationship no longer works. However, there are some cases in which a custodial parent may have significant, justified concerns about turning his or her child over to his or her ex for visitation time.

In some cases, both parents may share joint custody of the kids. In other situations, the children may live mainly with their custodial parent, but the parenting plan will also include scheduled visitation time with the noncustodial parent. In many cases, kids may spend every other weekend with their noncustodial parent. When the children and parents live a long distance away from one another, the kids may have visitation time during summers and school holidays. Parents may deal with inconveniences like requests to change weekends or shift timing on a regular basis, but that is typically not a reason to allow a custodial parent to interfere with scheduled visitation time.

Some parents may be concerned about serious dangers to their children. The noncustodial parent may be addicted to drugs or alcohol and may bring questionable people to the home while the children were there. A parent may suspect physical or sexual abuse is taking place. In some cases, the kids themselves may refuse to go to the other parent's home for visitation or express anxiety or depression about the visits.

When parents suspect there is a substantial danger to their children when they visit the other parent, they can be justified in not sending the kids. However, they may need to file for a change to the child custody order in order to do so. A family law attorney who practices child support and child custody can advise a concerned parent about the next steps in seeking a modified custody agreement.

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