You have a child, and the child’s other parent has custody. A court order gives you visitation rights with your child. But, the other parent won’t follow the court order, and won’t let you see the child as the court has ordered. You wonder: What can you do?
The Oklahoma Legislature has created a special process, where you can have your visitation rights enforced quickly, without an attorney. In this post, I’ll discuss how you can use this process to see your child.
(Note: The process that I describe here, will only work if there is already a visitation order in place, and the other parent won’t follow it. If there is not a visitation order in place yet, you will need to obtain a visitation order. Or, if there is a visitation order in place, and the other parent is following the order, and you want more visitation, you will need to modify the existing visitation order. To obtain a visitation order when there is not a visitation order in place, or to modify an existing visitation order, you will probably need an attorney, as these processes are more complicated.)
How to get a judge to enforce your visitation rights
First, fill out a “Motion for Enforcement of Non-Custodial Parent Visitation Rights.” This is a very simple form. The form is specifically designed so that anyone call fill it out, without a lawyer. You can download a pdf copy of this form here, or, you can download a Word copy of this form here. You can also get a copy of this form from your court clerk.
After you’ve filled out this form, file it with the court clerk’s office. The judge must schedule a hearing on a date that is 21 days (or less) after you filed the form with the court clerk. You will then have to send the other parent notice of the hearing, by certified mail.
At the hearing, the judge will hear evidence as to whether the other parent has actually denied visitation. If the judge finds that the other parent has denied visitation, then the judge may order one (or more) of the following:
The judge may set a specific visitation schedule;
The judge may order extra visitation time to compensate for the visitation denied or otherwise interfered with;
The judge may order the other parent to post a bond, conditioned upon the other parent’s complying with the order granting visitation rights;
The judge may order of one or both parents to attend counseling or educational sessions which focus on the impact of visitation disputes on children;
The judge may order supervised visitation; or
Any other remedy the court considers appropriate. This may include changing the original custody order.
The judge must enter his order 45 days (or less) after you originally filed the motion with the court clerk.
If you prevail on a motion to enforce visitation, the judge is required to order the other parent to reimburse you for any attorney’s fees, court costs, or mediation fees you incurred in filing the motion. However, if the other parent prevails, the judge is required to order you to reimburse the other parent for court costs, attorney’s fees or mediation fees that the other parent incurred. So, don’t file a false or frivolous motion.
Denial of visitation is one of the most frustrating and upsetting parts of a custody case. Denying visitation can harm both children and parents. When the Oklahoma Legislature created the process where you can file a motion to enforce visitation without an attorney, the Legislature sought to lessen the harm that obstructionist parents cause. If you have been denied visitation with your child, I would encourage you to take advantage of this process.