Parents all across Florida are raising a child with an ex. This arrangement may be best for the child, but it can be tough on parents, particularly parents who do not get along or trust each other.

In this situation, one common issue is when a parent refuses to let the other parent see the child. If you are dealing with an ex withholding custody or visitation, you should know what you can do and what rights you have.

What are your rights?

To enforce your rights to see your child, you must be sure you have rights to enforce. If you are the father and were unmarried when you had your child, you must confirm paternity either voluntarily or with DNA testing. Without confirmation of paternity, you may not have custody rights.

You should also have an official child custody order in place. A court order defines your rights in terms of parenting time and decision-making. Informal arrangements that are not approved by the courts can be impossible to enforce.

Further, parents should know that withholding visitation from a parent behind on child support payments is unlawful. And unless there is a threat to a child’s safety, there is typically no reason for a parent to violate a child custody order.

What you can do

If your ex keeps your child from you, you have a few options for what you can do.

  • You can call the police if you are worried about your child’s safety and want to create a record.
  • You can talk to the other parent and discuss the reasons behind custody violations and work together to identify solutions.
  • You can have the courts enforce the order.

If you pursue the last option, there are numerous actions the courts may take, depending on the severity of the violations. A judge might:

  • Award you extra time to make up for lost hours or days
  • Modify your parenting plan
  • Require the non-compliant parent to go to parenting classes
  • Order the non-compliant parent to pay legal fees and other costs
  • Hold a non-compliant parent in contempt, which could lead to jail time

Keeping a child from their parent is a serious offense. If your ex does not let you see your child, make sure you understand your rights and take action sooner rather than later.