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Tulsa Divorce: Can I Refuse to Allow Child Visitation if my Ex Does Not Pay Child Support?

ex does not pay child supportIn Tulsa, Oklahoma, you cannot refuse to allow child visitation if your ex does not pay child support.

Legally, you have a duty to facilitate visitation between your ex and his child.

Nonpayment of child support is not an acceptable reason to deny that visitation.

What Can Happen if I Deny Visitation?

If you deny visitation without good cause, your ex has the right to file a motion for enforcement of his or her visitation rights with the court clerk. If he does, you will receive a notice of hearing on the matter by certified mail.

At that hearing, if the court finds that you have unreasonably denied or interfered with your ex’s visitation rights, the court has:

1) the option of ordering a specific visitation schedule,

2) compensating visitation for the time that was denied at the convenience of your ex,

3) posting of a bond that you will lose if you do not comply,

4)counseling or educational session attendance,

5) supervised visitation,

6) or some other remedy that the court finds appropriate.

In addition, you could be charged with indirect contempt of court for violating your visitation order and assessed a fine of up to $500 and receive up to six months in jail.

If your ex wins the case, you may also be required to pay his reasonable attorney fees, mediation costs and the court costs associated with the proceedings that resulted from your refusal to grant visitation.

An exception to the above occurs if you can show good cause why you did not allow visitation.

If you cannot show good cause and a pattern of failure to allow court-ordered visitation is found, the judge may determine that it is contrary to the best interests of the child and, as such, may modify the child custody order.

When Can Visitation be Denied?

Visitation cannot be denied without a court order unless you can show good cause to the court that visitation was contrary to the best interests of the child. For example, your ex wanted to transport your child while intoxicated, you have reason to believe that your ex is drinking or using drugs during visitation, or your child is being made a victim of child abuse or neglect.

If you truly believe any of those things are occurring, you should speak with your attorney so that he or she can file a motion with the court to alter your child visitation order. If the court finds that you have good cause, it could order visitation suspended altogether.

Effects of Denying Visitation on Your Children

The courts in Oklahoma take visitation rights very seriously. State policy dictates that parents who act in the best interests of the child should have frequent and continuing contact and share the responsibilities and rights in rearing the child.

Children need to know that their parents love and support them. When visitation is not allowed, they may feel abandoned and angry because they perceive that the parent no longer cares about them.

Those feelings can result in children misbehaving and getting into trouble as a way of acting out their anger and seeking attention.

What Can I Do If My Ex Does Not Pay Child Support?

If your ex does not pay child support, you should speak with a Tulsa divorce attorney about filing an application for contempt. If your ex is found guilty of indirect contempt of court, the penalties for that charge could include up to six months in jail and a fine of not more than $500.

The court may also suspend any licenses that your ex has that were issued by a licensing board. If he or she has not paid child support for a year or the amount owed is over $5,000, the court could convict him or her of a felony and issue a sentence of up to four years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

As you can see, the penalties for not paying Oklahoma child support can be high.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney

If your ex is not paying child support or you feel that your current child visitation arrangement is not in the best interest of your children, you should contact a qualified Tulsa divorce lawyer.

The Divorce of Tulsa Law Office offers free consultations to discuss your legal issues. Call 918-924-5526 to schedule your appointment today.