There is no court order for visitation. Do I have to let my ex see the kids?

My ex-husband and I cannot agree on a schedule for when he can visit our two boys or when they can stay overnight with him.  He is stopping by every day.  Can I prohibit him from seeing our kids until we agree on a schedule?    

It is not advisable to prohibit your ex from seeing your boys.  Visitation between the noncustodial parent (your ex) and the child is presumed beneficial. Therefore, a judge will not look favorably upon you interfering with your ex-husband’s relationship with your children.  If there is a proven history of child neglect or abuse by him toward your boys, then your interference may be deemed justified and not harm your position when you seek and obtain a visitation order from the court.  Usually, “self-help” methods are not condoned by the judge.

Typically, the court enters a visitation order when it issues the custody order.  Because that has yet to happen in your case, you need to seek a court order establishing visitation. The visitation order will prevent conflicts and problems between you and your ex, while also providing much needed stability for your boys.  Your boys are the victims of your inability to reach an agreement.

How can you determine the best schedule?  You and your ex need to figure out what is in the best interests of your boys.  Hopefully, you can together create a plan identifying a weekend and overnight schedule including pick up and drop off details, while also addressing special occasions or unique situations, such as birthdays, holidays, and school vacations.  If you are unable to reach agreement, then you will most likely need to seek mediation, before the judge will make a final decision and sign the visitation order.  A mediator can assist you in reaching agreement in a cooperative and positive manner taking everyone’s schedules and needs into consideration.

Posted in: Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law