Denial of Visitation Is Not a Reason to Withhold Child Support
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson, I’m a Dads’ rights attorney in Tulsa, Okla. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about parental alienation. I’ve been seeing some questions recently on the father’s rights support group on Facebook dealing with the issue of parental alienations. What options do you have if she starts to try to turn the kids against you or is denying you the ability to see them, making false allegations, whatnot?
Obviously, it goes without saying that if you find yourself in this situation, you need to get a good lawyer right away, but what can you do in the meantime? Well, one of the things that are highly recommended is that you want to look at documenting each attempt to see your kids. Provided that you’re not subject to a protective order, which I will talk about in a moment, you should continue to make attempts to make contact reasonably.
In other words, if you have a daily time that you would call your children and try to talk to them, you should still try to make that phone call. If you have scheduled visitation, show up. Contact the children’s mother in a reasonable way and say, “I expect my visitation is as normal at this time.” Generally, I would recommend doing that in writing. If you do it in writing, then you have a documented history of her saying, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no.” This can help you later in court.
What you don’t want to do is get into a situation where it looks like you’re the one who’s choosing not to see the children, because when you do eventually get to court, that’s going to come out. Also, another thing that you should be aware of, if she’s denying you visitation, absolutely do not stop paying child support if you’re ordered to do so.
Oklahoma law is very clear on this point. Denial of visitation is not a reason to withhold child support. You may be thinking, “Well, that’s not fair,” and you’d be absolutely right. However, the law is very clear on this point and you should definitely not start denying child support, that comes with some pretty serious negative consequences.
So, what about if she gets a protective order? Well, first of all, if you find yourself served with a protective order in this situation, by all means, make sure you show up to the court to contest it, do not agree to a protective order. Also again, it goes without saying, has a good lawyer. One thing to pay attention to is if the protective order has the children on it or not.
Most of the time if you have children on a protective order that are subject to a custody order, the court will agree to take them off of the protective order if the allegations don’t directly involve the children and there’s a custody order in place. Because protective order courts are legally barred from making changes, making long-term changes to custody orders. It’s actually directly in the statutes that deal with protective orders.
For short-term interim to prevent an immediate problem, they can intervene, but there would have to be an allegation of some sort of domestic violence or other conduct that comes under the protective order statutes, such as stalking, harassment, or threats in order to keep the children on that order. So again, your lawyer can go to court and get your children taken off the protective order, and that at least would allow you some contact, and you should as much as you’re able to try to maintain contact.
Now if you are subject to a protective order prohibiting you from contacting your children’s mother, obviously you don’t want to violate that. This is, again, where you want to get a lawyer involved immediately and have them make contact with either her attorney or if she’s unrepresented with her, to re-establish your contact with your children as quickly as you possibly can.
Lastly, you want to talk to your attorney if you get into the situation about filing a pleading called a motion to enforce. What that does is it brings it to the court’s attention that you’ve been denied visitation and it creates a very short turnaround time for the court to come back and give you a hearing. At which point in time the court can award you makeup time and can order your children’s mother to allow you to see the children, and it’s also the case of a fee. If you prevail, you can get your attorney’s fees awarded to you.
You may also talk to your attorney about some other remedies. Depending on the circumstances, there is the possibility if there is an existing custody order in place, you can file a motion to modify. Denial of visitation is considered a material substantial change in circumstances to meet the given standard, which is the rule that’s used by courts to determine when custody can be modified. There is a statutory duty by the custodial parent to encourage and foster a relationship with the children. So you have a direct legal argument in that situation, but it is important to act quickly.
Now, what about if she’s denying you access and you don’t have a custody order either, because you’re not married to her or you haven’t gotten that far in your divorce proceedings? Well, if you’re married and you find yourself kicked out and the children are denied to you, then the solution is pretty simple, file for divorce, file for legal separation, and immediately seek a temporary order either awarding you custody, or at least awarding you visitation.
If you are looking at a non-marital situation, then you’re going to have to initiate a paternity suit, and that’s a whole other section for another conversation, but it’s something you want to talk to an attorney about immediately.
So the long and short of it is document, document, document, document, document, and then get a lawyer involved as quickly as you possibly can to put a stop to this behavior before it gets out of hand, and before she could establish a pattern of you not having involvement with the children.
My name is Brian L. Jackson, I am a Tulsa father’s rights attorney, and we’ve been talking about what to do if your ex is denying you access to your children. Again, my name is Brian Jackson. I’m a Tulsa father’s rights attorney, and it’s been a pleasure talking to you today.