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What can parents do to regain visitation with their children?

There is often nothing more important in the lives of Florida parents than their children. While the parent-child relationship is one of the strongest bonds that exist, it is important for parents to strengthen and protect that bond by having regular access their children.

The way parents exercise their right to the parent-child relationship is typically through visitation rights with their children. As discussed in this blog last week, Florida has a public policy of ensuring children's right to frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

Unfortunately, however, parenting plans that are established to ensure these visitation rights are not always followed by the other parent. Florida law provides for certain consequences when a parent refuses to follow the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan.

For instance, the court can award the parent who was denied parenting time an extra amount of time to compensate for the time that was missed. The court has to consider the best interests of the child in scheduling this additional parenting time, but the parent can regain the lost time in an expeditious manner when possible.

The court can also order the parent who interfered with parenting time to pay fines and attorney's fees. The offending parent can also be ordered to attend a parenting course, do community service and have the financial burden of promoting contact between the parents when the other parent and child reside more than 60 miles apart.

In severe cases, these issues can lead to child custody modifications or sanctions on the offending parent. Ultimately, each case will vary depending on the circumstances involved and what type of interference is at issue.

Source: Florida State Legislature, "61.13 Support of children; parenting and time-sharing; powers of court," accessed on March 12, 2016

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