During a recent edition of ‘Love Court’ on the Alice 96.5 Morning Show, Jessica Anderson was asked whether a mother, who is divorced from the father of her child, is obligated to fulfill the father’s visitation rights when the child does not wish to see the father.
The Context of the Problem
A woman called into the show with the following question:
Dear Jessica, my ex-husband moved four years ago and has lived in various states. I have primary physical custody of our 13-year-old son. He is entitled to holiday and summer visitations, but it has been sporadic. Now that summer is approaching, my ex has texted asking when our son gets to come out so that he can plan a visit. My son reports that his dad is mean to him and has been physically abusive during visits. My son is adamant that he doesn’t want to go this summer. Where do I stand? Our son doesn’t want to go; he is almost 13. It’s hard to force a 13-year-old to go anywhere. What are the Nevada laws on this?
In this situation, is the mother obliged to ensure that her ex-husband’s visitation rights are honored in the context of Nevada state law?
What is the Best Way to Navigate This Custodial Issue?
Jessica recommends the mother follow the court order until she has obtained a court order that modifies her husband’s visitation rights. The mother can file a motion to change the current mandate, as the judge will make changes based on the best interests of the child in question including his wishes, developmental needs, and overall well-being.
It is important to note neither the mother nor her son can unilaterally decide to deprive the child’s father of his visitation rights. Also, any changes to the court order would take months to process, as Nevada has a limited number of civil courts that are already backlogged.
Violating a custody order can yield severe consequences for the offending party. A judge can order the parent who has been deprived of their mandated custody time be allotted make-up time. Additionally, withholding children from the other parent can result in criminal charges and having to pay the other party’s legal fees.
To avoid imprisonment, fines, and sanctions, it is vital you follow the correct course of action.
What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Custody Dispute?
Custodial issues are commonplace in the United States, so don’t worry that you are entering unknown territory. Almost one in two children will witness their parents’ divorce, and with over 12 million custodial parents across the nation, you can tap into a wealth of experience and knowledge.
For complex legal issues such as custodial disputes, it is strongly advised you seek professional help from the outset to ensure your actions are legal, your interests are protected, and that your rights are upheld.
Anderson Keuscher PLLC is a leading law firm in Reno, Nevada, specializing in numerous areas of family law, such as divorce law, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, alimony, child guardianship, adult guardianship, annulment, reproductive law, and more.
If you require legal services for any custodial problems of your own or any other family law concerns, please reach out to us, and we will be happy to assist! We have over 20 years of experience in Northern Nevada and are committed to serving our community. We are also experienced in property division and distribution law.