The law is swift and severe when child support is unpaid, but when a father is denied access to his child there are few remedies available.
However, Illinois is one of the latest states to protect visitation orders following the recent passage of legislation that applies many of the sanctions available in non-payment of child support cases to those of visitation and access interference.
The "Steve Watkins Bill" is currently awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature to become law. Sanctions would include driver's license suspension, fines, probation, and possible imprisonment.
Currently, only five states suspend licenses (Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah) and just six states incarcerate for visitation interference (Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas).
How States Enforce Visitation Interference
• Some states define visitation interference synonymously with custody interference (Idaho, Texas, Washington).
• Visitation interference is grounds for suspending alimony or maintenance (New York).
• Penalty fees up to $500 (Minnesota, Pennsylvania).
• Penalty fees can be up to $1,000 (Montana, Michigan).
• Suspension of licenses (Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah).
• Incarceration (Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas).
• Change in custody (Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Vermont, Washington).
• The posting of a bond (Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma).
• Child Support Abatement (Missouri).
Read Related Articles:Visitation Rights
Visitation Interference Stats
• Approximately 50% of mothers see no value in the father‘s continued contact with his children.
• Mothers may prevent visits to retaliate against the fathers for problems in their marital or post marital relationship.
• 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father‘s visitation on at least one occasion, to punish their ex-spouse.
• The courts' failure to enforce or expand visitation agreements are a frequently mentioned complaint.
• Interviewing more than 100 children researchers concluded that in most cases it was true that visitation was blocked, and that there was no justification for it.