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Changing Visitation Schedule

Visitation Contempt Explained

Visitation Contempt Explained

There are many issues to handle when a couple decides to divorce. Visitation, the division of assets and custody are a few of them. A divorce with children involved is particularly upsetting. However, a bad situation can turn worse quickly,  if the non-custodial parent chooses not to take advantage of their scheduled visitations.
While it’s true that a non-custodial parent does not legally have to take advantage of their court ordered visitations, there are some legal actions that one can take to try to get their ex-spouse to follow the rules set up in the decree of divorce. Visitations are usually considered to be a right, not a privilege, but this rule does not always hold true. The petition that established visitations is a legal court order. If the non-custodial parent violates the court order, they are in contempt of court. One can request that the court hold the non-custodial parent in contempt of court if they do not follow their legal visitations schedule. 
The first step that one should take, is trying to handle the problem on their own without involving the courts. It may be beneficial for one to talk with their ex-spouse about the divorce. Visitation with a child should not be dependent on the parents’ relationship, and a mature conversation may solve the problem. If it does not, then it may be time to involve the courts. Hiring an attorney who specializes in custody and visitations is a smart idea. If one cannot be afforded, then doing research on the subject is very important. 
If involving the court is necessary, then one should be aware that changing visitations involves fees that must be paid. One fee is called a Marshall’s fee and it is used for filing a contempt order. The fee generally ranges from $40 to $75. This fee can be waived if one can show proof of financial hardship. Two documents must be filled out. They are called a Motion For Contempt and a Letter to the Marshal. The Motion For Contempt document legally notifies one’s ex-spouse that they are filing an order for contempt since the ex-spouse has not honored the court ordered visitations agreement. Filing the documents with the county clerk allows one to receive their court date. The Court Marshall’s letter is then used officially to serve the non-custodial parent with the Motion for Contempt, since they have a right to defend themselves. 
The court case to file an order of visitations contempt is similar to one regarding divorce. Visitation with both parents are considered to be important so the court takes into account that the non-custodial parent has not taken advantage of their visitations. Having proof of this is very beneficial. Both parents will be called into the courtroom on the day of the visitations contempt hearing. They will each give their side of the story. The judge will review any applicable evidence relating to the case. Presenting the previous visitations agreement and any proof that it was violated will help.
The judge will rule on the case. Usually, he or she will require a few days to go over the evidence and consider both sides of the story. If the judge decided that the parent who served is in contempt of the visitations agreement, there are a couple of options. He can either limit visitations, change the visitations schedule, try to enforce visitations as a way of giving the non-custodial parent another chance or in rare cases deny visitations completely. The spouse in contempt may also have to attend parenting classes, pay the custodial spouse’s attorney fees or even go to jail. The spouse who is in contempt has the right to appeal. The outcome of the case depends on specific circumstance in the case.

Who to Contact and When to File a Motion

Who to Contact and When to File a Motion

There are many reasons why a couple may need to change a visitation schedule that they previously had agreed on or were ordered to follow. One parent’s work schedule may change or the visitation schedule may be cutting into a child’s after school commitments. Whatever the reasons may be, changing schedules for visitations can be difficult, especially when the parents do not get along with each other. However, making a new visitation schedule does not have to very complicated, especially if both parents are willing to be flexible when making a new visitation schedule. The fact is, visitations can be changed.
The first step to changing a visitation schedule is for an individual to try to have a civil conversation with their ex-spouse. Mentioning the valid reasons why one would like the visitation schedule to be changed may help the ex-spouse understand the situation. Unfortunately, if the ex-spouse is trying to make the other’s life difficult, this conversation can have the opposite effect. The ex-spouse may become more determined to have the visitation schedule stay the same, so that the other parent is inconvenienced. If a new visitation agreement can be agreed on, making one’s own contract and getting it notarized is a smart idea. 
If a couple can agree on a new visitation schedule, they still must file the motion with the courts to make it official and legal. The court will examine the new agreement, to make sure that the new visitation schedule benefits the child. It is not necessary to involve attorneys to change visitations, unless the couple cannot agree on a new schedule. However, if the couple cannot agree, the individual who wishes to change the visitation schedule should contact a lawyer and file a motion on their own with their local family court. 
It is possible to represent oneself in visitations cases, but hiring an attorney. if one can be afforded will usually make the process easier. However, it may also create a bad feeling between the ex-spouses. A lawyer is also good to have to act as a middle man between an individual and their ex-spouse, if the situation is hostile. 
Petitioning the court is best when done in advance. Since it may take some time to hammer out the new visitation schedule and make it into an official court order, one should file almost immediately upon realizing a new visitation schedule is desired. Waiting until the last second to file for a new visitation schedule makes an already difficult and complicated situation into a worse one.
One should have valid reasons for wanting visitations to be changed. Since the new order will most likely disrupt both the lives of the child as well as the ex-spouse, reasons for the requested change should be valid. A family court will take a change in visitation request more seriously if there is good reason behind the request. Regular visitations can give a child a sense of stability, so changes in visitation should not be made on a whim or for selfish reasons.

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