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Can I refuse to follow court ordered visitation?

Warren, OH |

I'm asking because I'm scared I have 3 children and am going to court in a couple days with my ex he wants visitation with our son. He has no bed for him to sleep. In and our son doesn't even know him. I'm very scared I left because he's a very violet man a drunk we have many domestics. And he has past. Drug charges his whole family is drug addicts and so is his new girlfriend. Where he lives I'm sorry needles are not something. I want my 1 year old around I'm so scared. I'm so desperate I love my son I don't want anything to happen but I've been told since he's paying his Childsupport hell get visitation and knowing what I do I just can't allow my child to go even with a court order I know ill be held in contempt of court but what is that exactly and how much trouble can I get in?

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Attorney answers 2


Most courts will see it as you stated, a parent will get visitation rights with a child except in very limited circumstances. So you should not be focused on if he will get visitation but on what type of visitation he will have.

You have to present the evidence that his visitation should be supervised, that he needs to be clean and sober to have the visitation, that there be no overnights until the proper arrangements are in place, .....

This is your focus, the order putting restriction on his visitation and not the fact he is having visitation. If you focus too much on stopping the visitation, you could make yourself appear to be uncooperative and uncaring of the fact that children need both parents.

In the end, continued violation of a court order can lead to contempt findings that will put you in jail and make you lose custody of your child (and potentially your other children as well).

You need to have an attorney to assist you in making sure the court is aware of the situation and makes the appropriate orders. If you try to fight against him without an attorney while he has an attorney, then you are going to probably not be very successful in your case.

Best thing for your situation is to hire an experienced family law attorney who can present the evidence to ensure any visitation order protects the safety of your son.

This answer is being provided as general advice only and is not to be relied upon for specific circumstances. By answering the question, no attorney-client relationship is created. As for any matter, it is best to seek consultation in person with an attorney who practices in the area of law in which you are inquiring.


Let me remind you that child support is dealt with in an entirely different framework from child custody and companionship. Paying child support does not automatically entitle one to visitation. This is a pervasive urban myth. Not true. He has to file motions and request it, and have a hearing, unless you agree otherwise.

Your question relates to contempt of court proceedings. If you have probable cause, and proof to substantiate it, you have the ability to object to an existing court order and bring the reasons to the attention of the Judge or Magistrate hearing the case.

If there are domestic violence convictions bring copies of any police reports or incident reports that you may have, or stop at the local Police Department in the city in which the incident(s) occurred to obtain copies. You may also be able to pull arrest records from the Internet, as many court records are available online. The website for the Trumbull County Clerk of Courts provides access to criminal and civil case records in the County Court system (felonies) and has a separate directory for the Warren Municipal Court.

Now, for a minute, let's talk about Contempt of Court.

If there is already an existing court order, and you intentionally disobey it without having legitimate probable cause, before the Court punishes someone, several things have to happen.
1. Did someone go to court and ask for a visitation order, and does it currently exist?.
If there is no Order, how can you violate it?

2. If there is an Order, is there a legitimate reason not to obey it?
Look at the reason and the evidence to support that reason. Gather your evidence. If you want the Magistrate to look properly your case, and if you want to either cause the existing order to be changed or terminated, just saying that you believe these things to be truthful is not enough. You need evidence. Public records are easy to obtain. Do your homework prior to Court.

3. Can I argue my case in court?
It is certainly always better to go to court with a skilled Lawyer. However, a Magistrate or Judge will listen to you-- but if you don't have evidence to support your claim, your hearing will be very short. Saying that you know something is true-isn't enough.- . Expecting the other side to tell the truth where it is against their interest to do so-- is also not a winning strategy. If there's domestic violence, the court will expect you to have reported it. If there are drug charges and police reports and conviction records, you need to bring them. Get on the Internet and look for the records or go to the Police Department and pull the records.

4. What if I am found in Contempt of Court?
If you are found in Contempt of Court, the Court is required by law to issue a one-time order directing you to comply with its initial order, and giving you a reasonable time within which to do so. This is called a Purge Order.
If you comply with the terms of a Purge Order, Contempt can be purged and sanctions can be withdrawn by the Court. However, if you do not comply your Purge Order will specifically state exactly what the Court will do as a punishment for a violation of its order-- and if you violate a Purge Order, or fail to comply with it, that Sanction, which can include jail time, fines, penalties, etc., will be applied by the Court.

Going into Court without an Attorney is like going to a gunfight with a water pistol. Not a good idea, especially when you are telling a Judge or Magistrate that you have no intention of obeying an Order which they issued. Better have a good reason and some PROOF!!!

If you have no money for an Attorney, Contempt of Court is a sanction for which jail can be Ordered, so you would be eligible for court-appointed representation or Legal aid through Northeast Ohio Legal Services. If you are looking for private counsel, call my office. In either event--Good Luck.,

The answers to questions provided in response to the request for assistance are general in nature, and reflect information which is primarily based upon general legal principals, and may additionally reflect Ohio principles of legal practice, as this is the primary location of this Attorney's practice. As with any legal advice, the advise is general in character, and should not be put into practice without specifically consulting your local counsel, who will possess far more insight into the applicable standards and laws of your specific State, your case's specific issues and the local Rules of Court and practices of the specific jurisdiction your legal action is governed by. You are specifically instructed : Do not proceed without first discussing this matter with your own local Attorney. Provision of the answers to general questions does not constitute an act of representation, and the Attorney shall not be deemed to accept employment based upon the responses contained herein. The reader is advised that they utilize the general suggestions contained in the responses at their own risk, and under no circumstances should they disregard the advise of their present local legal counsel based upon any suggestions or opinions contained herein. Also, the bast method to discuss a case with an attorney is to do so directly, by scheduling a formal consultation in their office, bringing with you at the time of the meeting all of your relevant paperwork, including any contratcs, any Orders from Court, decrees, complaints, pleadings, etc., and any other relevant information for the attorney to review. General information via the internet is no substitute for an actual meeting with an attorney. The advice provided is provided without charge. It is also provided without the benefit of face to face discussions, so before you act--consult an attorney in person.

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