Enforcing Visitation Rights
Custody battles are becoming increasingly common — and more and more heated. Police officers are called to homes when one parent does not want the other to take the children, and courtrooms all across the country are filled with parent’s trying to gain custody of or visitation with their kids.
The problem with custody disputes is that they sometimes turn very ugly. For example, the Orlando Sentinel reports on the custody battle between dentist Mark Todd and his former wife, Elise Eslinger. Police have been called to Mrs. Eslinger’s residence 14 times in the last four months, often resulting in Mr. Todd being denied access to his children.
According to Mrs. Eslinger, the kids refuse to spend time with their father because he has allegedly become violent in the past. However, there are numerous custody battles in which there is no evidence of violence, but one or both parents claims to be afraid for his or her life.
Mr. Todd was awarded visitation rights pursuant to his divorce from Mrs. Eslinger eight years ago. Now, however, he frequently is denied visitation on the grounds that he might become violent, or that his kids do not want to see him. Complicating matters is the fact that Mrs. Eslinger is married to the Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger.
Mr. Todd’s plight is not unique, however, as many fathers have trouble seeing their children following a separation or divorce. The same is true of women when the father has primary custody. The problems often start when one parent refuses to comply with the terms of a visitation order.
Some parents work hard to avoid custody battles. They might agree to enjoy equal time with their children, for example, in order to keep the peace. Of course, even after custody and visitation are decided, disputes can still arise. It is sometimes necessary to exchange children at a neutral location or to have another family member transport the kids between houses.
In most jurisdictions, police officers do not get involved in custody disputes except to enforce court orders. This is why a parent who wishes to protect his or her custody or visitation rights should contact an attorney. An experienced family law attorney can help you build a strong case and help you achieve the desired result.