What Happens if You Miss Child Visitation?
Posted on June 2nd, 2021
After a divorce, as the non-custodial parent, seeing your child is of the utmost importance. Your visitation rights allow you to keep a relationship with your child when you can’t be with them like you used to. At the same time, things such as work and family emergencies can get in the way. There are going to be some visits you miss. But what happens because of these missed visits?
There are some things you don’t actually have to worry about in terms of law and some things you do. We can’t speak to the effect that missed visits will have on your relationship with your child, but we can tell you how it may affect your visitation and custody rights.
#1. Can Your Ex-Partner Punish You in Court?
To put it simply, nothing happens immediately. The courts cannot actually make anyone be a parent. If you have one or a few missed visits, your ex-partner cannot go to court to have you fined or charged. There’s no crime in the state of Pennsylvania for missing visitation.
Repeated missed visits can be met with some actions by a judge later on. If you don’t have a good reason for why you have missed visitation, the court can order a number of things for you to complete, such as:
- Parenting class, mediation, and/or family counseling (paid for by you)
- A fee on you to the custodial parent to make up for missed visits
- A book report on a judge appointed topic
- A modification to the custody agreement and your visitation rights.
The last one is the most important. If you are consistently missing visitation and don’t provide a good enough reason, the courts may take away some, most, or all of your custody/visitation rights.
#2. Can You Make Up Missed Visits?
If you wish to make up a missed visit and your ex-partner isn’t working with you on it, or otherwise requires you to go to court, a judge may afford you a make-up. Make sure that your reason for missing is clear and concise. You need to show the judge that it is in the best interest of your child to make up a visit you missed. The court will want above all else, whatever is best for your child.
#3. What Can I Do to Keep From Missing Visits?
If the visitation agreement is scheduled in a way that you can’t meet, you should make an appeal to the court to have it changed as soon as possible. Do this before you keep missing meetings, so you don’t lose your visitation rights. The court wants nothing more than to have both parents in the child’s life as much as possible. If you can prove that the current visitation agreement is set up so you can’t see your child as much as you could/should, the court will want to work with you and the custodial parent to change it.
If the custodial parent is working against you, they can be punished with the same requirements you could have been in turn.
Warning: Visitation Rights Do Not Affect Child Support
Your ex-partner cannot keep you from seeing your child on the grounds that you didn’t pay child support. Your ability to financially support your child is not the same as your ability to emotionally/mentally support them. The court will also not change your child support payments as punishment or concession to your visitation rights.
Don’t Wait, Contact Kalinoski Law Today
Your time with your child is sacred, don’t let it be wasted. Contact Kalinoski Law Offices as soon as you can, whether it’s to change your custody schedule, or just review it. We’re an experienced law firm in family law, capable of amending the visitation rights of your marriage.
We all want to make sure you can see your child as much as you can. Contact us for consultation, and we’ll help you make that reality.
Category: Child Custody/Support
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Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.