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Can I deny my former partner parental visitation rights?

Even after your divorce has been finalized in Massachusetts courts and child custody has been settled, that does not mean the arrangements agreed upon are set in stone. If you feel your co-parent and former spouse is not living up to the custody agreement, you may wish to deny them custody or visitation rights. But can you legally do that, or does your former partner have the right to see your child or children no matter what?

Mass.gov explains that you have the right to request changes to your custody agreement. Changes can be requested for a number of reasons, but one reason includes if the current arrangement is not in the best interests of the child. If your former partner is unable to meet your child's health, education and wellness needs they may be denied or limited in custody until their situation improves.

However, complete denial of all visitation rights is usually saved for more extreme cases. If your former partner is abusing your child or allowing your child to be exposed to abuse or other forms of emotional or bodily harm, this may be grounds to alter the custody agreement to remove all custody and visitation rights. The courts will prioritize your child's best interests over the wishes of either parent when evaluating the situation and determining if your former spouse is in any way endangering your child or incapable of caring for them properly.

This has been an informational blog post intended for reference only, and should not be considered a substitute for legal counsel.

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