Written by Canterbury Law Group

Grounds to Deny a Father Visitation Rights


The old tradition of one parent having physical custody and the other parent having visitation rights still exists today, but many courts are moving toward joint custody arrangements after divorce. This is especially true while your divorce is still ongoing and if one parent has moved out of the marital home – judges don’t like to upset a child’s present situation needlessly, so the parent who moves out might end up with visitation rights instead of joint custody until the divorce is finalized. Under certain circumstances, a court may deny visitation, but a custodial parent cannot do so on her own.

Court Grounds

Courts seldom deny visitation entirely, if at all, particularly in a provisional order while a divorce is still pending. Visitation may be denied after a trial during which custody is litigated as part of the divorce, but this would typically be the result of critical circumstances. As an example, in the state of Illinois, the statutes state that a parent has a right to acceptable visitation unless it can “endanger seriously” the child, either physically, mentally, morally, or emotionally. The appellate court in Illinois ruled in 1987 that even sexual abuse of the child was not grounds for denying visitation to a non-custodial parent since the court hadn’t adequately established that the abuse happened. Grounds for an absolute revocation of visitation must typically be grievous and verifiable beyond a doubt.

Supervised Visitation

Even though the courts are slow to deny visitation overall, they’re more inclined to order supervised visitation when contact with a parent might jeopardize the child. Supervised visitation includes a 3rd party being present to watch over the contact and protect the child if needed. California courts are willing to order this type of agreement for different reasons, especially regarding a likelihood of parental kidnapping, a drawn-out estrangement between child and parent, or in domestic violence cases. Illinois courts have arranged supervised visitation if the parent suffers from a type of mental illness, and Alaska will order them in cases of domestic abuse, but only if the parent has taken steps toward recovery. Alaska is a state that will refuse visitation when a parent has a domestic violence record.

Custodial Parents’ Rights

If you have major concerns in regard to your child’s safety, you’re not helpless. You can deny visitation on an individual basis due to an emergency, but you may need evidence to safeguard yourself from contempt of court charges if you do. As an example, if your spouse comes to pick up your child for visitation and he’s clearly been drinking, you don’t have to let her to get into the car with him. However, you should call the police, so you will have a record of the occurrence that you can later provide to the court when you voice your concerns, whether at a temporary hearing or included in your divorce trial. Even though you don’t have grounds to deny visitation completely, you can petition the court and ask a judge to do it for you. The burden of proof is always on you to establish that visitation is likely to harm your child, so you’ll need testimony and records of incidents that threatened your child’s well-being and welfare when she was in your spouse’s care.


Even if the court arranges supervised visitation or is denied in your divorce decree, it doesn’t mean the circumstances will never change. A lot of states will allow a parent who has been denied visitation to restore his rights through effective parental rehabilitation. This may include anger management classes, drug or alcohol abuse therapy, or other intervention plans. As you can request the court at any time to stop visitation, your spouse can request to re-establish it if he can prove good cause.

Can Arizona Court Deny a Father Visitation Rights?

What Are Some Common Reasons a Parent Is Denied Visitation Rights?

When two parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent occasionally prevents the non-custodial parent from employing his or her child visitation rights. If you are a non-custodial parent that has been denied visitation rights that you once had, there are some simple reasons why you were denied your visitation rights:

  • You’re a non-custodial parent and are not paying child support
  • Objection of other parent’s relationships, like a new mate
  • Drug and/ or alcohol abuse
  • Incarceration due to child abuse
  • Abduction fears
  • Religious belief differences
  • Child’s desires

If there is a custody order in effect, denying visitation is illegal and can have serious legal consequences for the parent who refuses visitation. In some jurisdictions, a custodial parent may deny visitation if visitation with the non-custodial parent would risk exposing the child to direct bodily injury or emotional abuse. In addition, the custodial parent must also take particular steps before denying visitation, like getting a hold of the appropriate authorities. This is only allowed in exceptional circumstances.


ARS 25-414 Violation of Visitation and Parenting Time Rights.” Stewart Law Group, https://www.arizonalawgroup.com/arizona-family-law-statutes/ars-25-414-violation-of-visitation-and-parenting-time-rights/

Bird, Beverly. “Grounds for Denying Visitation Rights.” LegalZoom Legal Info, 21 Nov. 2017, https://info.legalzoom.com/grounds-denying-visitation-rights-26246.html.

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We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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