Visitation

questions & answers

Question: Can i deny court ordered visitation if my childs safety is a concern? ie. my children were victims of child abuse and they just informed me that the abuser has been living with their mother within the last few months and she has allowed this with my children there during her scheduled visitation. my younger child does not feel good about this arrangement and stated he was not comfortable being around this person and that the visitaions have been different. i feel that this is not in their best interest so therefore i did not allow the visitation.

Answer: If a child is in danger call 911. Either parent may request in writing that the court modify a custody order. To change an existing order it must be shown that the best interests of the child are served. The request is filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court and a fee for filing is charged; however, there are limitations on requesting a modification. For example, a request may not be filed for one year from the date of the earlier order, unless there are special circumstances seriously endangering the child's physical, mental, emotional or moral health. If a form of joint custody has been ordered, a modification may be requested at any time if there is evidence that domestic violence, spousal abuse or child abuse has occurred since the date the last order was granted. In a joint custody situation, a parent must wait six months before seeking a modification if the reason for the request is that one parent has failed to obey the court's custody order. A person who believes her/his safety is in danger due to domestic violence or harassment can ask the court for an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment. An Order of Protection is a legal restraint used to prohibit a person from committing acts of domestic violence or from contacting people protected by the order. It also provides several kinds of protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order, and exclusive use of the home. However, it is only a piece of paper. You must also take steps to insure your safety. An Emergency Order of Protection is also a legal restraint to prevent domestic violence. An Emergency Order may be granted by an authorized judicial officer in writing, verbally or by telephone for the protection of a person in "imminent and present danger of domestic violence." An Emergency Order may be used to order a person not to commit acts of domestic violence or contact people protected by the order. Similar to the Order of Protection, it also provides protective relief, such as exclusive use of the home and removing firearms from an abuser. Unless continued by the court, an Emergency Order is valid only until the close of the next day of judicial business following the day that the Emergency Order was issued. In counties with a population of 150,000 persons or more, the presiding judge of the Superior Court must make available, on a rotating basis, a judicial officer to issue Emergency Orders during the hours that the courts are closed. There is no similar requirement for counties having a smaller population. However, in smaller counties, a judge, justice of the peace or magistrate may issue an Emergency Order of Protection.

QUESTIONS

  • Can i deny court ordered visitation if my childs safety is a concern? ie. my children were victims of child abuse and they just informed me that the abuser has been living with their mother within the last few months and she has allowed this with my children there during her scheduled visitation. my younger child does not feel good about this arrangement and stated he was not comfortable being around this person and that the visitaions have been different. i feel that this is not in their best interest so therefore i did not allow the visitation.

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