Can I Refuse Visitation Rights if My Child Is in Danger?

When Your Child Is in Danger

Can I Refuse Visitation Rights if My Child Is in Danger?

If you are a custodial parent, you have the right to live with and make important decisions regarding your child. Your child’s other parent might have visitation rights or rights to parenting time. If you have a custody order, both your rights are legally protected. Neither of you can violate each other’s rights. But there is one notable exception to this rule. Generally speaking, you don’t have to follow a custody order if it puts your child’s’ safety at risk. You can refuse visitation—and thus violate the other parent’s rights—if you need to keep your child safe.

Who to Turn to in an Emergency

You can only withhold visitation rights in true emergency situations. Minor co-parenting conflicts do not constitute emergencies, nor is it OK to withhold your child to retaliate. The consequences of doing so are serious. If the other parent harmed your child or threatened to kidnap your child, you might have grounds to withhold your child. Call law enforcement if the other parent is making such threats. Law enforcement can put a hold on your child’s passport to prevent the other parent from removing your child from the country. It can also put state patrol on alert to help prevent parental kidnapping.

Even in emergency situations, you should immediately take steps to get an emergency custody order from the court. This ensures you do not lose custody as a result of your actions. Never withhold visitation rights without seeking emergency custody. Because so many parents needlessly violate custody orders, you have to involve the court whenever you interfere with visitation.

If you fear for your child’s safety, contact an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney to discuss your rights. An attorney can advise you on what you can and cannot do and help you make the best decision on how to move forward. An attorney can also help you ask the court for emergency custody if it is necessary to keep your child safe. You might be overwhelmed when the safety of your child is at stake, but an attorney can help you make informed decisions so you can fully exercise your rights and protect your child.

Co-parenting a child is stressful and full of challenges, but the knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC have the experience needed to defend your rights as a parent and protect your child’s best interests. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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