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The Sound of Ideas

Enforcing Child Visitation

Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010

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Enforcing Child Visitation By law in Ohio a parent who has custody of a child in a divorce cannot withhold visitation rights to the non-custodial parent simply because he...or behind in child support payments. However, those involved in family courts say it happens and not infrequently. In fact, even when child support payments are current some non-custodial parents, most often fathers, are denied visitation by their ex-spouse. The fathers can fight in court but it can be months before those cases are heard and some say judges in Ohio rarely do much to enforce their visitation orders. Join host Mike McIntyre as he discusses visitation rights, plus the confusion and dissatisfaction some have with the current rules and how they are played. Do fathers get a fair shake? Thursday morning at 9 on 90.3


Health, Children's Health, Other, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Parenting/Child Care


Maryann Dybiec Executive Director, Children's Rights Council of Cleveland
Joel Sacco Family Mediator & Former Magistrate, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court
The Honorable Judge Diane Palos Administrative Judge, Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court
Tracy Robinson Executive Director, Ohio Commission on Fatherhood

Additional Information

Child visitation rights go unenforced, fathers complain, by Stan Donaldson, The Plain Dealer

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Marie 9:49 AM 7/15/10

It’s also a profoundly effective tool for blackmail. My fiance’s ex-wife insisted the show-cause motion be dropped before she’d agree to a revised shared parenting agreement. We missed 3 months with the children, it destroyed his authority with the daughter whose misbehavior instigated the dispute which provoked her mother’s decision to essentially kidnap both children, and destroyed us financially. We’ll also never get the Father’s Day or my fiance’s birthday back—or our days as a young couple before this changed us permanently.

Ann Porath 10:00 AM 7/15/10

McDonald Hopkins Signature Pro Bono Project:  A new collaboration among Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, pro bono attorneys from the law firm of McDonald Hopkins and Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to provide assisted pro se help in preparing Child Support pleadings at monthly Clinics.  First Clinic - July 31st. Call Legal Aid for eligbility screening and an appointment.
An important first step to help low income pro se litigants.
Please call Ann Porath at Legal Aid for more information.

Jennifer Roth 10:11 AM 7/15/10

The issue of domestic violence has been ignored in this conversation.  Fifty percent of divorcing families involve domestic violence issues and if one person has already been deemed the custodial parent that is likely the case.  What is being toted as “two fighting parents” is often a larger complex pattern of power and control and manipulation being asserted by one spouse over the other.  This often involves the use of children and 85% of the victims are women.  It sickens me that Parental Alienation was mentioned as a viable reality when it is a theory created out of the imagination of a suicidal pedophile (this is factual) named Richard Gardner.  the “theory” has been debunked by the American Psychological Association” as well as the larger association of Family Courts (don’t have official name offhand).  Yet still this is being seen as valid by our own courts!

Dave 10:29 AM 7/15/10

#1 No “Plan” will work if a parent refuses to follow it.
Like most Cuyahoga County cases, my ex was awarded custody.  I was fortunate, I fought for and got more visitation time than what the Standard Visitation Guidelines called for.
During the 1st 4 years post-decree, my ex filed 8 Show Just Cause Motions against me, in mediation she lost on all counts.  Even after that she refused to follow our Shared Parenting Plan and did whatever she wanted.  And going back to court with all the delays, postponements etc. gets old - fast.

In hindsight, anytime my ex didn’t get her way, she took it out on our son and/or my time with him.  I started to work towards a Reallocation of Parental Rights in 2008, after my son asked about living with me.
I was finally awarded custody in Fall 2010.

The Domestic Relations system is very slow process. I completely understand that every one has rights and our laws control that, but in my opinion the D.R. court, CSEA etc. systems seem to hide behind laws rather than get bogged down in what they consider minor issues.
It took 7 months for CSEA to investigate my overpayment (via garnished wages) of child support.  And while they agreed I overpaid, they had no law to allow them to get it back.

Near the end of the program, there was a comment made, “we have enough laws, we need to educate”.  That is a wonderful concept but my ex is a well-educated person.  She is just a very unhappy revengeful person, no education will eliminate her attitude, there needs to be simpler, quicker ways to address issues.

The show mentioned the court’s Family Conciliation Service, it is NOT a service, it’s a joke.
They mis-reported issues prior to the divorce and continued to do that when we were required to go again during my Reallocation efforts.  What I found interesting was their report claimed I had the problems my ex had been diagnosed with (a behavioral problem).  I came to the realization that if their “report” changed, that would indicate they were wrong the first time.  I’ve since heard that’s very common.

To any reasonable, rational & caring parent fighting for your child(ren), do NOT give-up, it takes time, it’s frustrating, almost to the point of anger, but now that my son lives with me, looking back it was all worth it.

Good Luck

michael c 7:41 PM 7/15/10

I’d like to know the ostensible reference for Ms. Roth’s questionable statistic quoted without reference… “domestic violence involved in 50 % of divorce...”? I seriously question that statistic and what geography, socio-economic strata, year of measurement, and other parameters are beamured or controlled for in any study seemingly providing this data.

my experience in both OH and PA shows that the basic constitutional principle of “equal protection under the law” goes right out the window when it comes to custody and support matters in most counties in these states.

It is frustrating as a father who was the victim of domestic violence and recipient of a court protective order (later striken from the record!) against my ex-wife to consistently encounter court and domestic relations biases that favor a sinle party.

Jim Johnson 10:32 AM 7/17/10

My son has been denied visitation with his twin daughters for over 6 years. The entire family has had no contact with them. They are now 18 and the alienation is so complete we know we will never see them again. Support was always current as well as insurance. Through his lawyer they set up counselling but after one time the mother refused to go back, stating that the counselor knew nothing about children. The mother and maternal grandmother were able to convince these 2 children that we would kidnap them if they ever visited. They refuse to talk on the phone, send thank you cards for birthday presents, graduation gifts and dates that have significance over the last 6 years. She is in contempt but there is no recourse. Lawyer fee’s and counselling fee’s used all of the money he had to fight for his rights. I work as an advisor with troubled youth and know that when children recieve counselling where alienation has seperated parents from their children it works. But the courts are unwilling to pursue parents that have purposefully aliented the non-custodial parent.

Duncan Orrr 6:19 PM 7/18/10

I had a chance to see this live on TV. Well done. I have been in and out of the courts for years, complained to the Ohio Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary counsel, nothing happens. A never ending battle which is crippling us all, not just dad’s, but kids.

It is the manipulation of the courts which is sad, the reality “tell the truth whole truth so help you god”...does not exist in Ohio.


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