Living On The Outside Looking In
In today’s society, nearly half of children are being born to single mothers. Combine this with the high rate of divorce and a parent (usually the father) ends up on the outside looking in, wondering what is happening with his children. His access to them is limited and controlled, either by the court, or by the mother. For this reason, access rights need to be defined clearly to avoid later issues arising as to whether a certain day, weekend, or holiday belongs to one parent or the other.
What Needs To Be Known
On the following pages, you will find information on:
- What Parents Need To Discuss On Access Rights;
- Sample Visitation Schedule;
- Sample Long Distance Visitation Schedule;
- How To Address Denial Of Access;
- Collecting Evidence Of Denial Of Access For The Courts;
- GrandParent Access Rights;
- Child Refusing To Visit;
You will learn that hiring an attorney is not necessarily a first step to address denial of access. Many state or local governments have developed procedures for enforcing visitation orders. In addition, the Federal government has made funding available to states for developing model programs to ensure that children will be able to have the continuing care and emotional support of both parents. Check with your local CSE agency and clerk of court to see what resources are available to you and to find out about laws that address custody and visitation.
Denial of access is a major problem, even with court orders in place. According to the US Dept. of Health & Human Services study, “Survey of Absent Parents” over 60% of mothers regularly violates the access rights of fathers, cutting off all contact between the children and their fathers within five years. Unlike child support, mothers are not jailed, even with multiple Contempt of Court ruling against them for violating the father’s court ordered visitation rights. However, Michigan has recently passed a law to limit the driving privileges of a custodial parent violating the access orders.
The best way to address repeated denial of access rights is to have the court order the offending parent to provide the court with a cash or certified bond that is forfeited if the orders are again violated.