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Can you refuse visitation?

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No. This is a very bad idea to go against a court order regarding child visitation rights. The custodial parent sometimes interferes with child visitation and forces the non-custodial parent to seek alternative ways to maintain the parent-child relationship. For the non-custodial parent whose right has been denied there are mild, moderate and severe enforcements of the right to visitation.

* Mild enforcements are: filing a police report, modifying the visitation judgment to exactly specify the time and place of visitation, award make-up visitation and family therapy or mediation
* Moderate enforcements are: supervised visitation, having a third party responsible for overseeing visitation and award of attorney's fees
* Severe enforcements are: contempt proceedings, court permission to withhold child support, change of custody and suing the other parent for hindering visitation

The problems with enforcement is that most judges are unwilling to take the steps necessary to enforce a visitation order equally to a child support order. When Public Law 12 was passed in the 80s creating the Federal Commission of Child Support, as a part of the requirements to receive federal funding, the states were to set up programs for the enforcement of visitation orders. So far no state has done that. Missouri did pass RSMO 565.156 §5 in 1989, making it a Class D felony to violate court ordered visitation, but county prosecutors have flatly refused to enforce it.
565.156. 1. A person commits the crime of child abduction if he or she:
(5) Having legal custody of the child pursuant to a valid court order, removes, takes, detains, conceals or entices away that child within or without the state, without good cause, and with the intent to deprive the custody or visitation rights of another person, without obtaining written consent as is provided under section 452.377, RSMo.

2. Child abduction is a class D felony.
According to the US Dept. of Health & Human Services study, "Survey of Absent Parents" over 60% of mothers regularly violate the access rights of fathers. Further, they are successful in 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 rulings against them for violating the fathers' court ordered visitation rights.

The best defense is a good offense, to have a motion to change custody ready the moment a judge rules a parent in contempt of a visitation order.

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In Custody

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In Custody

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