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can I immediately stop my children from seeing their father, who has joint custody, if I feel their safety is at stake?

1 Answers. Asked on Sep 16th, 2012 on Child Custody - Virginia
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My ex-husband and I share custody of our two daughters, they see him every weekend. He is a recovering alcoholic but has begun drinking again. Last weekend my daughters called crying because he was trying to drive them home drunk. Can I refuse to allow them to go to his house while i file for custody? Do I legally have to let them go there until I get a court order? and how do I get physical proof of him drinking? I spoke with him and heard him slur, the children saw it, and they talk of it every weekend, but I don't have hard proof that I can give for emergency custody. What could happen to me if I refuse him custody next weekend?
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Answered on Sep 17th, 2012 at 9:20 AM

If your ex has visitation based upon an order of the Court, you can be held in contempt of that order for withholding the children.  If there is no order, but just an agreement between the parties, there would be no contempt.  

If there is an order, you can file a motion to amend the visitation and ask for an expedited hearing to bring your concerns to the attention of the court.  You could ask the court to temporarily (pending a hearing) suspend visitation, order no consumption of alcohol while the children are in his care, etc.  

If there is no order, you can file a motion to establish a visitation order, requesting certain stipulations to address your concerns

f you are ever concerned about the safety or wellbeing of the children while in his custody, you can always contact your local law enforcement agency to conduct a welfare check on the children.

The above response has been provided for general guidance on matters of interest only and is not intended as a legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship has been created between the reader of this response and The Law Office of Karen M. Holman, PLLC.

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Child Custody
Your children are precious, and issues of child custody shouldn't be treated casually. Even the most amicable splits and custody agreements should be negotiated with the assistance of child custody attorneys and approved by the courts. Once a judge has approved the agreement, changes in custody or visitation, as well as enforcement of child custody agreements, should be handled with the assistance of your lawyer. Child custody law firms can also work with grandparents and other parties other than parents who are seeking custody of a child.
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