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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27871
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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I filed contempt of court papers against my ex (my sons

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I filed "contempt of court" papers against my ex (my son's other mother) for keeping my son from me on my visitation days that she established, for not consulting with me to come up with a visitation plan with which we "mutually agree" in our flexible, non-specific custody/visitation paperwork, and for not allowing me my summer vacation time with my son--all of which has caused much pain, suffering, and a major disruption in the parent-child bond between me and my preschooler. I have a witness, notarized affidavit, and hardcopy emails to prove my points, and all this after trying endlessly to make things right with my ex and also calling the cops on more than one occassion, who could not help me because our paperwork is non-specific re: dates/times. I have always paid child support in full and never done anything "wrong" on my end.
I am asking she be held in contempt, allow me "make up" days with son, a penalty/fine for her violations, and a motion to clarify/modify the existing paperwork, which I have begged for these many months past. Is this appropriate? Is there anything I should know before going into court today?? Thank you!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 3 years ago.
Good afternoon from Savannah,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

Depending on how flexible and non-specific your custody/visitation Order is, you may not have any good footing for contempt.

You claim that you were denied your summer visitation and she refused to work toward a visitation plan. It sounds as though there is no actual order of custody/visitation except that she has primary custody and the two of you shall work out visitation.

The fact that visitation has not been worked out is not contempt on her part, and if there is no Ordered summer visitation---again she can not be in contempt of an Order which does not exist. A court will not issue contempt citations for something that is not a definite obligation on the part of a litigant.

Whet you do have is the perfect scenario, and good cause, to ask for a modification of the child custody Order to make visitation specific. Generally, visitation is set every other weekend, alternating holidays and 4 to 6 weeks during the summer break---for a total of 90 to 100 days visitation each year.

While you may ask for a modified custody order at court today, the court will likely ask you to file a formal Noticed Motion for Modification so as to give your ex an opportunity to retain counsel and defend against the Motion. Don't forget to ask that the court at least Order a specific Christmas visitation schedule for later this month---that will likely be agreed to by the court.

I wish you and your child the best this holiday season.

Thank you very much for having allowed me to assist you. Please, remember that I only receive credit for helping you when you Accept my answers. Until then your payment is simply held on deposit. Subscription customers incur no additional charges by Accepting. So, please click the ACCEPT icon. Thanks again.

Doug



Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. The paperwork does require she permit summer vacation visit and that she agrees not to deny reasonable summer vacation visit. The agreement was filed in July but stated I must tell her by the 1st of May when I want that time. Well, it was already July, and I asked continually, but no accommodation. Also, she established schedule of Tu/Th afterschool vist and Sat. afternoon to Sunday afternoon. This is carved in stone to her, was my "minimal visitation", and I made plans and confirmed these times (pending change in paperwork) and then she'd just refuse to let me have my son as per this "agreement". Repeatedly. No warning, no cause, just no visit. That does not count? The paperwork states she shall not deny visitation unless it interferes with school/medical app't etc.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 3 years ago.
Your wrote: she established schedule of Tu/Th afterschool vist and Sat. afternoon to Sunday afternoon. This is carved in stone to her, was my "minimal visitation", and I made plans and confirmed these times (pending change in paperwork) and then she'd just refuse to let me have my son as per this "agreement". Repeatedly. No warning, no cause, just no visit. That does not count? No, it doesn't count. Here is your problem. Contempt may ONLY be cited when there has been a violation of a COURT ORDER. SInce the violation was only of the private agreement made by the two of you---and it wasn't Ordered by the court---there can be no contempt.

All you can show is that she has not worked with you in good faith to hammer out a fair visitation schedule and then keep to it. This is great ammunition for a Motion to Modify and make the custody/visitation Order much more specific---but that is all.

Your proof will make it clear to the court that she misrepresented facts to the court when she alleged that only school/doctor's appointments etc. cause visitation problems, but she won't be held in contempt for that.

Do what you can to get the court to Order visitation in the short term, and then get your Motion for Modification on file.

I wish you well in the New Year.

Thank you for your
kind words of gratitude. Please, remember that I only receive credit for helping you when you Accept my answer. Until then your payment is simply held by JustAnswer.com and not shared with me. So, please click the ACCEPT icon if my Answer has been informative, and helpful to your understanding of the law. Thanks again.

Doug
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27871
Experience: 30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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