Threatening parents: Sometimes, withholding visitation is valid

There are people who worry that they must always give the other parent visitation rights, even if the other parent is an immediate threat to their children. They may worry every time they drop their children off that this will be the last time they see them.

That kind of stress is not healthy in any relationship or situation. As a parent, you should know that the court will back you up if you feel that your children are in immediate danger. If that's the case, you have the right to withhold custody and to seek help from the authorities and your attorney. In emergency situations, it may even be legal to flee with your children to keep them out of harm's way.

If you do decide to withhold visitation or to flee with your children, don't disappear. Make sure you call your attorney and prepare to seek protective orders. You will need to collect evidence against the other parent to make your actions valid, so don't take the situation lightly. You need to be able to prove that you or your children believed that they were in danger and that withholding visitation was the only option at the moment. By keeping your attorney in the loop and contacting the authorities, you're helping protect yourself and showing that you're not hiding or kidnapping your children.

It can be hard to know what is or is not legal, but when abuse or neglect is part of your children's lives, you need to act in their best interests. Your attorney can help you understand what is and is not legal before you take action. Have a conversation, so you're prepared.

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