Can Arizona Courts Deny Father’s Visitation Rights?
Whenever two parents separate or divorce, the custodial parent can occasionally prevent the non-custodial parent from utilizing their visitation rights. If you happen to be the non-custodial parent that has been denied visitation, here are some reasons why you may have been denied:
- Child’s desires.
- Fear of abduction.
- Not paying child support.
- Objection of other parent’s relationships, like a new girlfriend or partner.
- Religious differences.
- Past child abuse offenses.
If a custody order is in effect, then denying visitation in this situation is illegal. This can lead to serious legal consequences for the parent denying visitation rights. Some jurisdictions allow a custodial parent to deny visitation if it would directly expose the child to injury or emotional abuse.
Even though courts can be slow to deny visitation, they are more inclined to order supervised visitation. This commonly occurs when any sort of contact could be considered harmful to the child. Supervised visitation means a third party will be present during time spent between the child and parent. This third-party person is there to supervise and protect the child, if necessary.
California, for example, is willing to order this type of agreement for a variety of reasons. This order can result from a likelihood of parental kidnapping, a long estrangement between parent and child or domestic violence cases. Illinois courts will arrange supervised visitation if the parent currently suffers from a mental illness.
Courts seldom deny visitation entirely, especially while any divorce is still pending. Visitation can be denied after a trial during which time custody is litigated as part of the agreement. For example, the Illinois statutes state that a parent has a right to acceptable visitation unless it can “endanger seriously” the child or children. This includes any physical, mental, emotional or moral abuse.
The appellate court in Illinois ruled that even sexual abuse of a child was not grounds for denying visitation in 1987 since the court could not confirm when the abuse occurred. Grounds for full revocation of visitation rights must be grievous and verified beyond a doubt.
Custodial Parents Rights
It is possible to deny visitation on an individual basis due to emergencies. However, you may need evidence to protect yourself from contempt of court charges, if necessary. For example, if your spouse picks up the child for visitation, but is clearly under the influence, you do not have to let your child get into their vehicle.
When this unfortunate situation arises, though, you should always call the police to have a record of this occurrence. It can later be referenced in court, supporting your visitation concerns. Even though this will not give you grounds for complete denial, you can petition the court to ask a judge to do it for you. The burden of proof is always on you to establish the belief that visitation could potentially harm your child. You will need testimony and a record of incidents that endangered your child’s welfare.
Many states will allow a parent who has been denied visitation to restore their rights via parental rehabilitation. This could include anger management courses, drug or alcohol therapy or other various treatments. The mother has the right to request the court stop visitation at any time, but the father also has the right to request a re-establishing of those rights at any time, as well.
ARS 25-414 Violation of Visitation and Parenting Time Rights.” Stewart Law Group, https://www.arizonalawgroup.com/arizona-family-law-statutes/ars-25-414-violation-of-visitation-and-parenting-time-rights/
Bird, Beverly. “Grounds for Denying Visitation Rights.” LegalZoom Legal Info, 21 Nov. 2017, https://info.legalzoom.com/grounds-denying-visitation-rights-26246.html.
Need an Affordable Father’s Rights Attorney in Scottsdale?
The High Desert Family Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation.