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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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Hi, I am a divorced single mom who is the custodial parent

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Hi,
I am a divorced single mom who is the custodial parent of my child. The non-custodial parent lives more than 100 miles away now and has filed modification papers for visitation with our child to see our child less now because of the inconvenience of the miles between him and his child. The modifications di not include any changes to the extended summer visitation guidelines and I followed the protocol set out in the modifications that I give the father ample notice of the extended summer visit before April 15. This was a date that was established in our original divorce decree many years ago. If I have followed the steps and done my part, do I need to get a court order to enforce my intentions? The father says he will get a court order to have a judge decide if he will have to take his child or not. I have been taking care of my child by myself for over a year now since the father decided to move away. The father has always been involved in his child's life, but since he decided to move away, now he thinks that he does not owe any time to his child. The divorce decree says if we as parents cannot agree on visitation then we are supposed to follow what is written in the divorce decree. The wording says it is so ordered. Could you please let me know what my next step needs to be so that I can get the father to have visitation? I need a break and I will be unable to take care of my child due to my work schedule in the summer. Thank you.
Dear JACUSTOMER - I completely understand your situation. What I am going to tell you is probably not what you will want to hear but it is the law in all states. No one can be forced to visit their child and if the father simply stopped all visitation there would be nothing you could do to force him to visit. The only thing you can force him to do is pay child support, visits or no visits. So he doesn't even have to go to court to limit his visitation since he can simply not exercise it. The visitation order is basically so that the non custodial parent is guaranteed visitation if the custodial parent denies it but the non custodial parent can decide that he or she does not want to be involved at all so long as the support is paid. No judge will force him to exercise visitation so it is going to be up to the father as to if he exercises the visitation. The court will modify the order to lessen the visitation and the court will modify an order to increase visitation as the case may be. But the court will only enforce the visitation as to the custodial parent if the custodial parent denies visitation to the non custodial parent. I understand that you need a break but if the father is not willing to share the parental duties you can't force him to do so.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I believe there is something that can be done in this situation. I can't give up.

I understand but I guarantee you that no court fill ever force visitation on a non custodial parent. People abandon their children all the time but so long as they pay support the court will not get involved. Your only option would be to see if the father will take custody and give you the visitation. That would relieve him of the support and you would be the one who would have to travel. I'm sure that's not an option but believe me you will not get any court to force the father to visit more than he wishes to do so. The courts take the position that if the parent doesn't want the child the child shouldn't be with the parent.
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