Can Long Distance Visitation Really Be Enforced?
My husband's kids are in the state of Florida-- where his divorce took place. We live out of state now.
She has refused to let him see the kids because they have never flown. He has not seen his kids in a year.
If a long distance order is in place and she is refuses to abide by it, I understand that the motion of contempt can be filed; and I have read that "if the judge determines that she is willfully in contempt that more visitation time can be awarded to make up for the time that was lost".
However is anything ever really done? Besides the judge "telling" her she "needs" to abide? She is saying that the judge will do nothing and she will keep going to court and letting the judge "scold" her, but she "still will not" put the kids on a plane-- Ever!
And that no one can make her, also that no has ever been sent to jail for not putting their kids on a plane. Is this true? Are we just spinning our wheels and burning dollars with a lawyer? Thank you for your time.
Answer to Florida Child Visitation Question
A long distance parenting plan, or any type of parenting plan, is incorporated into a final order of dissolution or a modification as part of the court order. As such, it is enforceable. In answer to your question: "Has anything ever been done?" We answer a resounding YES.
As a matter of fact one of the options you may request in your Motion for Civil Enforcement and Contempt is a child pick up order. This is an extreme remedy, and may
not be suitable for all situations. However, the court has the power to order that the child be picked up by law enforcement and delivered to you.
If you truly have a Long Distance Parenting Plan, there should be a built in mechanism for travel. Depending on the age of the child, an escort may be needed to travel by plane.
The parenting plan should address that issue, as well as who pays for tickets, how far in advance travel plans are made, and many more details that you may not have even considered.
We're not sure whether anyone has been jailed for refusing to put a child on an airplane. We are sure, however, that many parents have been jailed for contempt of court in general.
Consider how many people go to jail for failure to pay child support. They are not jailed because of the debt, but because of their willful contempt of a court order.
And, in answer to your question: "Are we just spinning our wheels and burning dollars with a lawyer?" Our answer is: It depends. If your lawyer is not diligently pursuing your right to child visitation, then maybe so.
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