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Ottawa Family Law Firm Offers Advice for Divorced Parents Regarding Access

Going through a divorce can be messy, complicated, and an emotional ordeal, not only for you, but the other person, too. Sometimes we forget the other person can be experiencing the same types of feelings and emotional responses that we are during the separation and divorce proceedings. They might feel angry at you because you are preventing them from seeing their children on a daily basis, or have upset their entire world because they have to move out of the matrimonial home and find a new place to live.

Regardless of the reasons behind the divorce, it is important for divorcing parents to remember they still have a responsibility towards their children. Courts may award joint custody and shared visitation to ensure the children are being given equal time with both parents, as long as there are no concerns with respect to both parents’ ability to care for the children on a regular, shared custody basis. The test in always going to be: “What is in the best interests of the children?”

If your divorce is not amicable, you and your ex-spouse can have trust issues regarding child visitation. You might be fearful you will get a call and be informed that your ex is not returning the children at the end of their visitation. You could be reluctant to let the children go and might make excuses about pick up times or say the kids are busy this weekend. As your children get older, it is not uncommon for them to start saying they don’t want to go and visit the other parent.

These types of situations, and others, can present challenges that need to be addressed correctly. Some parents make the mistake of trying to deal with their ex-spouse on their own, only to become even more frustrated, or worse, take matters into their own hands, while violating the law or their court-ordered visitation.

  • Your spouse refuses to return the children at the end of their visitation. Unless your Court order specifies set visitation schedules, you will need to contact your Ottawa divorce lawyer for assistance and may need to go back to court to get this resolved. If the order does have set visitation schedules, and provides for police-enforcement, you can contact the police to have them enforce this and return the children. But police will often consider access issues a “civil” matter and will not become involved.
  • You are preventing your children from seeing their other parent. You cannot prevent the other parent from seeing their children if visitation is court-ordered. Otherwise, your ex-spouse may take you back to court and request a modification to the original agreement or order, and/or a contempt order. You could even find you are no longer the custodial parent if you are seen to be obstructing an arrangement that is considered in the children’s best interests.
  • Your children say they don’t want to go with the other parent. Unfortunately, your children have limited rights in regards to visitation and even if they do not want to go, it is your responsibility to ensure the children are ready to be picked up and you follow the Court order. If your children have specific reasons for not wanting to go, it is best to consult with your family law lawyer to see if there are grounds to request a modification to visitation. Age is an important factor in considering the children’s wishes.
    Keep in mind the above are just a few of the more common issues that can arise and there are numerous other ones too. Furthermore, the above content should not be considered actual legal advice and is for reference only. If you have further questions, concerns, or want to find out more about requesting a change in visitation agreements, please contact the Ottawa family lawyers at Davies Law Firm by calling 613-688-0462 today.

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