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Child Custody Frequently Asked Question #5

Published: September 16, 2012
Child Abuse & Neglect, Guardianship


I am concerned about my child when he/she is visiting with the other parent. What can I do?


Generally speaking, a court can restrict or deny visitation if the court believes that the child might be placed in danger by the visitation. You would need to return to court to seek changes in the custody or visitation agreements. 

Since laws, policies, and procedures around child custody matters vary from State to State, you may want to consult with and/or obtain the services of an attorney who practices in the area of family law in your State. If you need assistance in locating and/or paying for an attorney, the American Bar Association (ABA) provides a lawyer referral service at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/home.html (scroll to the bottom of the page for a map of the U.S. which links to local resources) and the Consumers’ Guide to Legal Help at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm provides pro bono attorney referrals and more. In addition, the ABA website at http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/faq_freehelp.... may also be of assistance, especially to anyone needing free legal help. This site provides links to: free, State legal hotlines for individuals to call and speak to a lawyer; pro bono services for special populations; “unbundled" legal services (which means that individuals can handle part of the legal work themselves to save costs); and links to legal forms.

If you have any concerns that your child is being harmed while in the care of his/her other parent, you should report your concerns to the appropriate authorities, such as Child Protective Services (CPS), in the State in which the child resides. Each State has trained professionals who can evaluate the situation and determine whether intervention and services are needed. Most States have a toll-free number to call to report suspected abuse.  Please refer to the related organizations listing at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=5&rate_... for information about where to call to make a report with your State.

Another resource for information on how and where to file a report of suspected child abuse and neglect is the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline. Childhelp® can be reached seven days a week, 24-hours a day, at their toll-free number, 1.800.4-A CHILD® (1.800.422.4453).

The Federal government does not have the authority to intervene in individual child custody or child welfare cases. State agencies and courts make the decisions involving child custody and visitation rights in each State according to State laws.