Even if a Tulsa family court has ordered visitation at designated times, most parents occasionally deviate from this plan.
If this happens routinely, you have several options available to you under child visitation guidelines in Oklahoma.
Speak with Your Ex
Courts are not inclined to grant relief based upon one or two minor violations of a visitation agreement.
Therefore, if your ex has not egregiously violated the order, such as not returning the children, you should simply reach out and speak with them.
Consider the following common scenarios where speaking with your ex may be reasonable.
1. Returning the children late.
Consider a scenario where your ex took the children to an amusement park for the day, but returned them at 9pm instead of 6pm, as ordered by the court.
Here, you should contact them by e-mail or text message (to document the incident), calmly remind them of the agreed upon visitation time, and ask that they communicate beforehand if they think they will be late.
2. Not exercising visitation.
If your ex has not exercised visitation at all, send an e-mail or text message. Here, you can remind them of the agreement, and ask that they communicate with you each and every time they will be unable to spend time with the children as agreed upon.
However, if your ex has failed to exercise visitation in several weeks, it may be time to go back to court.
3. Wanting visitation on days not ordered by the court.
Sometimes, your ex may want extra visitation time or try to make up days they voluntarily missed by wanting the children on alternative days (i.e. she missed visitation on Monday, so now wants the kids on Tuesday.)
Although you can certainly agree to this if you want, you are not required to allow visitation on any days not ordered by the court. Therefore, if you do not want to allow alternative visitation, tell your ex that you prefer to stick with the court order to avoid confusion down the road.
4. Not allowing visitation.
If your ex has, for any reason, denied you visitation, they are in violation of child visitation guidelines in Oklahoma. In this situation, send an e-mail or text message to your ex stating that you were prepared to visit with your children on the day and time ordered by the court.
Remind them that the visitation agreement requires visitation on that day, and that you will be prepared to see the children at the next ordered date.
If they respond, ask if you can make up the time. If they do not respond, you may need to file a contempt motion if it happens more than two or three times.
In this scenario, it is very important that you document through personal notes, e-mail or text messages that your ex has not allowed you to visit with the children in accordance with the order.
Contempt of Child Visitation Guidelines in Oklahoma
A contempt motion is available to litigants who have already received a court order. If your ex has repeatedly violated the court’s order with respect to visitation, you can file a motion for contempt.
Although your own testimony is acceptable, you should bring evidence with you that your ex has, in fact, violated the court’s order. E-mails and text messages are usually sufficient.
When you file a contempt motion, your ex will have to come to court to explain why he or she has violated the court order. If the court finds that your ex is in contempt of the order, it may simply seek to redress the situation.
If, for example, your ex always returns the children late because she does not have her own transportation, the court may order that you pick the children up from a mutual agreeable location. Or, the court may adjust the visitation schedule to accommodate the transportation problem.
In other cases, the court may order extra visitation time if one parent has prevented the other from visiting with their children. Or, the court may amend the order altogether.
The court may also order that the parent pays a civil fine for violating the order if they repeatedly and seriously violate child visitation guidelines in Oklahoma. Although jail is a possibility for a parent who violates a contempt order, this is unlikely in most cases.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Divorce Lawyer
When the other parent is in violation of child visitation guidelines in Oklahoma, you may feel as though you have limited options.
However, an experienced Tulsa child custody lawyer can help get things back on track.
A no-cost initial consultation can help you decide whether the Divorce of Tulsa Law Office can provide the best Tulsa child custody lawyer for your family law matter. For a free confidential consultation, call now: 918-924-5526.