Hello, my name is Brian L. Jackson, I am a Tulsa father’s rights attorney. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about what you should do if your ex is not letting you see your children. And this is another one of those situations that are what I would describe as a legal emergency.
Time is really important if you find yourself in this situation, and the longer that you were denied access to your children the higher the odds are that you’re going to be dealing with a situation with parental alienation, and the harder it’s going to be to enforce your rights. And additionally, if you let enough time go by it could actually result in your rights being taken away. So this is something you want to handle right away.
Now your first step is going to be to get in touch with a good attorney who is an aggressive litigator. And there are two major remedies to a situation where you’re being denied visitation if there’s a schedule in place.
The first remedy is going to be your motion to enforce. And a motion to enforce is a motion filed in the family court that is basically asking the court to enforce your existing visitation. And some of the things the courts can do in that situation include the court can make her pay your attorney’s fees.
The court can also order her to resume visitation and can give you makeup time. And the statute does allow in extreme cases for a change in custody, although if you’re looking to go that route you are probably looking at wanting to actually file a motion to modify. The other thing with the motion to enforce that’s a good thing about that is that there are statutory deadlines in place on that, that it has to be set quickly, so it’ll get you into court fairly quickly to address this problem.
The other remedy that you can also pursue as long as you have a court order in place is a citation for contempt of court. Violation of a custody order is a contemptible offense if she doesn’t have a good reason for it. So you can also have your lawyer file a citation for contempt. Now, the remedy there is that actually punish is the violation of the court order. And the court can order her to pay fines, the court can order her to pay your attorney’s fees again, and then also the contempt can carry up to six months in the county jail. And in an extreme case that may be the remedy you want to look for because it sends the message that looks, we’re not playing around here, this is not okay. But the really important thing is to get after that right away.
Now the only downside to contempt is contempt can take a lot longer to prosecute, and it can be costly. Contempt because it’s quasi-criminal does carry a jury trial right, and if she asks for a jury trial it may be a while before you get a hearing on that, which is why you want to make sure you talk to your lawyer about a motion to enforce as well because that motion to enforce can move a lot faster. Each of these remedies kind of has its own advantages and they should be pursued simultaneously. But the golden rule when you’re dealing with a situation where she won’t let you see the kids is definitely getting a lawyer involved right away.
Now the other thing you also want to do to help yourself is if she’s denying you visitation, continue to request visitation, make the attempt. And I mean you want to do this in a way you can document. So either you do it in writing, by text message, or email, or if you do making a phone call, remember we are a one-party consent state so you can record your phone calls with her, and you don’t need her consent to do it. But you want to document that you did in fact make the attempt.
Also, you should still send birthday cards. You should send Christmas gifts at Christmas, birthday gifts at birthdays. You should make the attempt, send letters, try to get in touch with your kids. Because what you do not want to do is allow her to create a situation where she can say that you haven’t been maintaining contact, because if she meets a new man and wants to have him now be the daddy, then if she can make the argument that you have not maintained contact, you may be looking at a situation where you could have adoption without consent occur. And that would mean your rights to your child or children would be terminated.
Also another misconception, and I’ve talked about this in the past in other videos, and I want to discuss this again. If she’s denying you visitation, 100% do not stop paying child support. You do not get to withhold child support just because you are being denied visitation. And I know there’s a lot of guys out there who don’t like to hear this, but there’s a reason I’m telling you this, this is for your own good. It’s going to make it a lot harder for you to convince a court to be sympathetic to you if you owe her a boatload of money. Now she’s not justified in withholding visitation just because you owe money, but it’s going to make the judge less sympathetic to you. Also, if you’re going to go after her for contempt and sue her, then she could come back and sue you.
And something to be aware of with contempt and Tulsa County on child support, child support contempt’s are taken much more seriously and are prosecuted and pursued much more aggressively than the denial of visitation contempts. In Tulsa County, that’ll land you on the rocket docket, and it’s so named because you can go all the way from being cited to being convicted in jail in 90 days. And the judge on that docket does jail fathers who don’t pay. And it is extremely unfair that this is how the system works. I’ll come right out and say it is extremely unfair, but it is the way the system works. So definitely do not start withholding child support in an attempt to gain her cooperation with visitation, because that’s going to blow up in your face.
Also, when you are contacting her to ask for visitation you need to be very careful how you approach this because you do not want to et up a situation where she can claim you’re harassing or threatening her in order to get a protective order. And I’ve seen this happen too.
You’ll see parents who no longer married or no longer dating, who are fighting over visitation and it gets heated, and dad makes a legal threat that she turns around and turns into a threat of violence to get a protective order. And then on top of the existing visitation problem, now you’re behind the eight balls with a protective order that could potentially create a presumption against you having unsupervised visitation, and it can just go off from there. It can make your case a lot worse, it can create a paper trail for her to use to justify denying you visitation, and it can also end up costing you a whole lot more money. So for all of these reasons, definitely I do encourage you to continue to try to communicate as long as you’re not court-ordered not to, but in communications you must keep your temper, you must be careful what you say. Because if you’re not, that can cause further problems.
So my name is Brian L. Jackson. I’m a Tulsa father’s rights attorney. We’ve been talking about what to do if you’re denied visitation by your children’s mother. Now, if you do find yourself facing this situation please call me right away, I want to help you. I work on these cases a lot, and I can get you a good outcome in most cases, but you need to come to talk to me so we can get the process started. And don’t delay, this is an emergency and it should be treated as such. My name is Brian L. Jackson, and again, I’m a Tulsa father’s rights attorney, and it’s been a pleasure. Thanks.