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Serving Iowa Families Statewide

Repeated Visitation Violations May Lead to Custody Changes

Divorced parents ideally co-parent their children effectively, communicate honestly, and support each other’s time with the children. Unfortunately, that idea situation doesn’t always happen. A parent who repeatedly violates court-ordered visitation can be charged with contempt or lose custody.

Iowa law instructs judges to order child custody that includes liberal visitation rights. Children are best served by a relationship with both parents in most circumstances. Visitation is denied only when the court determines the child’s safety or well-being is at risk.

If you are a Des Moines parent being denied your rightful visitation with your child, contact the Hope Law Firm. A change in custody is possible.

One Parent Denying the Other Their Visitation Rights

A child custody order identifies each parent’s rights and responsibilities. The specifics of the court’s custody decision and a detailed visitation schedule are included.

When one parent is the custodial parent, the other parent is given parenting time. While many parents follow the rules of their custody agreement, some start to bend the boundaries. The infractions may begin small and progress over time.

Parents disregard court-ordered visitation in the following ways:

  • Arriving late to custodial exchange locations
  • Scheduling activities for the child that interfere with visitation time
  • Keeping a child longer than allowed
  • Not following a holiday schedule
  • Taking the child on a long trip without informing the other parent
  • Disregarding custodial exchange dates

Unexpected situations arise and an occasional violation is generally not a cause for concern. A significant change in circumstances can also trigger an appropriate need for a modification of the child custody order. Our astute legal team can also advise you about modification.

The problem arises when one parent habitually disregards the custody order.

Steps to Take to Protect Visitation Rights

If your child is missing, contact the police immediately.

If you see a pattern of disregard, consider taking the following actions:

  • Speak to an attorney
  • Document each infraction, even minor violations
  • Remain civil with the other parent
  • Have your attorney communicate with the other parent

Consequences of Denied Visitation

When letters from your attorney and other early interventions do not resolve the situation, further action includes filing a Motion for Contempt. Doing so brings the parent back to court. The judge can punish them if they determine the parent willfully disobeyed the court-ordered visitation agreement.

Contempt of Court penalties for violating a visitation order can include the following:

  • Serve up to 30 days in county jail for each finding of contempt
  • Require a cash bond to ensure the return of the child
  • Modify visitation to compensate for lost time
  • Order mediation to enforce custody provisions of the decree
  • Pay court costs
  • Pay reasonable attorney fees

When the violations are severe, the judge can also transfer custody to the non-custodial parent.

Legal Representation for Custody & Visitation Disputes

Nothing is more important than your children and your relationship with them. If your ex refuses to abide by a visitation order, we will fight for your parental rights. A parent with legal and physical custody does not have the authority to deny your court-ordered visitation. The courts want what is best for the child, which can mean removing primary custody from one parent and giving it to the other.

At Hope Law Firm, we have the experience and knowledge to tackle complex family law cases. We respect the emotional and legal components of these very personal matters.

If you are wrestling with child custody issues, don’t handle the situation on your own. Schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Reach out through our online form or call (515) 305-2772.