Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Virginia

Q: We share joint legal and physical custody and have “visitation as agreed upon by both parties”, how is that enforced?

My 15 year old no longer wants to visit every other week related to various changes at the home and her feeling like she’s never heard. What’s my best next move?

Can a show cause be enforced against me since there is no concrete schedule in place?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: That reads just like the kind of agreement reached in mediation - it is vague enough that both parties can interpret it to their own satisfaction. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to enforce it. Far better is to have a fixed schedule from which the parties can deviate if they so agree.

It is difficult to enforce any visitation clauses with an older teenager. They tend to do whatever they want to, and can have problems in school, or even run away, if forced to abide by something they do not want to follow. It would seem better to try to keep or develop a relationship with them on their own terms. I have had clients who successfully developed better relationships with the help of a family therapist.

A parent can file a motion to modify an existing custody and/or visitation order upon a material change in circumstances.

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