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Can the judge restrict where visitation occurs?

Jacksonville, NC |

Situation is: Primary physical to mother in NC, joint legal with father in VA. If there are no concerns of abuse or other detriment, and visitation is unsupervised, can the judge dictate where it occurs? I was under the impression that a parent (even non-custodial) could travel at will within the US without restriction. However, father has been awarded two weekends a month, but judge dictated that those weekends must be exercised in NC. This creates both a rock and a hard place - to exercise visitation, dad must travel to NC, pay for hotel, and incur significant expense. However, if Dad doesn't go, mom can claim in future custody modifications that Dad didn't exercise all visitation offered, and therefore is "uninterested" as parent. Can the judge infringe dad's freedom of movement?

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Attorney answers 2


Yes, the judge can absolutely dictate where visitation can occur, this is not a restriction on Dad's freedom, it is a restriction on where visitation is to take place. Without more information it is difficult for me to say what your options are. Do you have a temporary or permanent order? Did you not express the desire to have visitation occur elsewhere, say meet half way to exchange child so that visitation could occur at your home? You may wish to speak with an attorney to discuss what your options may be to modify this order.

Any answer provided through this discussion board is a general response to the question and NOT intended as legal advice. Responding to this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Always seek the advice of a lawyer directly to address your specific circumstances.


Unfortunately for you, this is within the Judge's discretion. However, as the other attorney has stated, you can always go before the court and explain the circumstances to ask for a modification. Going back to court is always an expense, but so is having to get a hotel, etc. every two weeks. It's a tough situation, but there may be options for you. Contact an attorney to help guide you through it.

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