What Happens if a Non-custodial Parent Doesn’t Visit His Children?

I cannot speak for all jurisdictions, but I can tell you what my experience has been in Utah, which is the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law:

There is no statute in Utah (and no case law that I know of) that provides that a noncustodial parent must exercise visitation (known now in Utah as “parent-time”) with his/her children. There is no statute in Utah that provides that a noncustodial parent who does not exercise parent-time as court-ordered can be held in contempt of court for not exercising parent-time. I am not aware of any authority in Utah for the proposition that a divorce court cannot order a noncustodial parent to exercise the parent-time he/she is awarded.

That stated, I can easily see how a case could be made for petitioning the court to order a reduction of a noncustodial parent’s awarded parent-time if that noncustodial parent deliberately fails or refuses to exercise all of the parent-time originally awarded to him/her, especially if the custodial parent could demonstrate that the noncustodial parent’s failure/refusal is an undue or unfair burden on the custodial parent and/or is deleterious to the best interest of the children.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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