Part of the problem with getting visitation enforced is knowing what to do to prove your case, and how to remind the judge of their responsibilities. Let me start with the judge.
Always take people with you to court who are not there to testify. Make sure they are sitting where the judge can see them, each equipped with a tablet and pen to take notes. It's best to use a Court Watch Form designed for this purpose. I have one in the manual at Dads House.
If the judge is not doing his job, using the info from this form, he/her sanctioned and/or removed from the case. You file a complaint with the State Supreme Court at your state capital.
It's most important that you keep a daily journal of all your activities. There does not need to be any violence for a claim of violence to be filed. She gets a restraining order because she fears him because she has been preventing him from seeing her child. A restraining order can be filed up to a year after a supposed event in many states. With the journal, you can look back and see what you were doing that day and who were witnesses to it, such as being 30 miles away, as was the case with father. He was helping to remove a tree out of the roof of a neighbor's house. Please note that when the mother is unsuccessful in a false allegation of domestic violence, from 20 years of experience, within two years she will progress to child abuse and/or child sexual abuse allegations.
Many think that all the courts are rigged against dads, but in reality, it is more about attorneys unwilling, or lacking the knowledge, to truly fight for the father's rights. This is why it is important to learn how to interview and hire the right attorney. It is also important to do as much of the leg work on your own, and not pay the attorney to do it.
If you're being denied access, prepare a "Notice of Intent to Exercise Visitation" letter stating the specific dates as laid out in your order. Next, prepare a "Notice of Intent to Exercise Parental Rights" in the same legal format of your other court papers. Sign both and make three copies. Mail the originals Certified Mail and another set with Delivery Confirmation (75¢ + postage). If she rejects the one, she still receives the other. To get a Confirmation of Delivery, go to their web site at the link below.
If the Certified letter comes back, or the Certified Confirmation of Delivery, with her signature on it, attach either (letter unopened) to a copy of the letter, plus a print of the Delivery Confirmation from the web link below. Take these documents to the County Courthouse and have the Clerk of the Court notarize and them place it in your case file. Repeat process for each time you are to exercise your visitation until she either obeys the orders or you go to court on it.
Next is a "Notice of Exercise of Parental Rights" filed with the court and having the judge sign it. Serve or have it served on her. This you can do Pro Se.
When you show up to pick up the children, bring witnesses. Do not enter her place alone. If you can record, have someone video record from the car. Check the site below to see if it is illegal to record audio and/or video without the mother knowing. If her state does not have a law either way, than it defaults to the federal ruling, which says one person in a conversation, must know they are being recorded. THAT'S YOU!
In Missouri, it is specifically legal, while in Kansas there is no mention either way. With two different states, if one has a law against it, than you can record phone calls that originated in the state where it's legal. If it's legal in her state, than when she calls you, than you can record. I've heard of cases where the father lives just across the state line, crossing the state line than calling the mother on his cell phone and recording it.
Now, you can't just record, you also have to transcribe the conversations your daily journal.
One complaint is that the kids won't come, but that is likely to be a symptom of Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Now beyond that you may want to use an attorney if she still violates the order.
The next step is the "Notice of the Court of Denial of Exercise of Parental Rights" and "Motion to Show Cause for Contempt of Court of Denial of Visitation". This is where it can get complicate and what choice you wish to make. If she is held in Contempt of Court, that is consider a Change of Circumstances, which is grounds for a change in custody. Your attorney needs to have a Motion for Change of Custody ready to hand the judge.
If you want to learn how to do all this, go to Dads House in Yahoo Groups. There is an educational manual in the file section that can teach you what you need to know. When you sign up, you will receive a link to download the manual in PDF format.
Take the time to learn what you can and should do.
Now, if you want one way to make things less comfortable for her violating the court orders, get a bunch of friends to go picket her home and job. Stay on the public access, unless she works for the government. In those cases you can picket right up near the front door. It can be the most fun you ever had.
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. see link
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