4 Legitimate Reasons for Keeping Your Ex From Visiting Your Child

Mother and Daughter
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Dealing with child custody during a divorce or split can be a challenging situation, but if you arm yourself with information and keep your kids' best interests at heart, you can get through it. 

For instance, even if you have custody of your child, your ex may still be allowed visitation rights. While some parents are happy with this kind of arrangement, others may have good reasons for wanting to keep their ex from having visitation rights.

There are a variety of legitimate reasons for stopping visitation rights, however, you may need to defend your decision in court, so it's important to understand which reasons will hold up before a judge and which won't. Ahead, learn about five reasons that may warrant a parent's decision to refuse visitation to another parent. 

Alcohol/Substance Abuse

If your ex has been intoxicated or abused drugs in front of your child, this may be grounds to stop their visitation rights. However, the court may require a parent who is refused visitation for alcohol or substance abuse to attend substance/alcohol rehabilitation or counseling. The ability to resume visitation may be conditional upon successfully completing a family counseling program.

Domestic Violence

You may refuse visitation to a parent who has been accused of domestic violence. A court will look at several factors when determining whether domestic violence is an appropriate reason to refuse visitation, including whether the child or a sibling was the target of the violence, whether the child witnessed domestic violence, and whether the parent has received counseling for domestic violence

If you refuse visitation to someone who is accused of domestic violence, you should be prepared for the court to offer an alternative like supervised visitation or visitation at a neutral location.

Immediate Danger to the Child

You can refuse visitation to another parent if you believe your child may be in danger. A dangerous environment may be a home with several weapons that are not correctly stored, a home in a neighborhood with a high crime rate, or home where previous crimes have occurred by other members of the household.

A parent who is refused visitation due to dangerous living accommodations may need to move to a safer place that's acceptable by the court and the other parent in order to continue visitation.


Incarceration is a difficult and complicated factor. Although incarcerated parents are entitled to visitation, it's possible that a custodial parent may not want their child to experience visiting a parent in prison.

If this is the case, you should seek advice from legal counsel about your rights to refuse visitation to an incarcerated parent. A court will look into whether visiting an incarcerated parent serves the best interests of the child, so you'll need to be prepared to respond to questions about this in court.

Repercussions for Refusing Visitation

If you prevent your ex from exercising their visitation rights, you should expect some consequences. The non-custodial parent will most likely initiate a child custody modification case. In this proceeding, a court will either alter the child custody arrangement in favor of the non-custodial parent or a court may leave the current custodial agreement intact.

Additional Tips

It's usually in a child's best interests for parents to work together to develop a workable visitation schedule. Although it's not always the case, some parents may also consider the mediation or arbitration process to help them work out problems cordially.

For more information about child custody, you can refer to your state's child custody guidelines or speak with a qualified attorney.

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