It’s All About Protecting Your Children
Video Transcribed: Notice of suspension of visitation. What is it in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa lawyer James Wirth, and I’m talking about a type of motion or notice that has been filed in recent years in the state of Oklahoma.
It’s a notice of suspension of visitation. So what is that? Well, it’s kind of what it says. It’s a notice. It is not a motion. It is not requesting a court date. It is not requesting a court overview. So when does this come up? If you’ve got a court order in place, but you believe that it would be dangerous to the child’s health, if you were to allow visitation to go forward, then you can file this just by letting the court know that you are asserting that. So I’m not just denying visitation, I’m not intentionally being in contempt of court. I’m trying to protect the child, and you file a notice of that just to give notice.
It’s not required that you give notice, but it’s good practice to do so in case they file a contempt against you to assert that you’re violating the court’s order. They are already on notice of why you’re doing it. And then hopefully, you have your defense ready to go. So where does this come from? It comes from a statute, Oklahoma Title 43, Section 111.4, which provides, “A parent, who, in good faith and with a reasonable belief supported by fact, determines that the child of that parent is a victim of child abuse or neglect or suffers from the effects of domestic violence, may take necessary actions to protect the child, including refusing to permit visitation.”
So this is essentially a defense to the argument that a court order’s been violated. So if you’re being charged with contempt for refusing to allow visitation, this is your defense and you file a notice of suspension of visitation to give the court notice of that defense, as well as giving the other parent notice of why you are doing that. This doesn’t actually change the court’s order doesn’t get you off the hook for the court’s order, but it gives the court notice of what you’re doing and why, which can then be beneficial if you have to use that as a defense to a contempt that is filed. And obviously, you don’t want to allow the child to be abused or neglected. Not only is that contrary to the best interest of the child, but that’s also a violation of the law and could potentially make you guilty of failing to protect, which is a felony in the state of Oklahoma, that is a subset of child abuse that has a potential of life imprisonment. So don’t do that.
However, most judges would say that your best cause of action or the best thing that you should do, rather than filing the notice of suspension, is to file for emergency custody. That gets the issue before the court where you can get a modification of the court’s order on an emergency basis if you can meet the standard, but the standard is imminent danger of reputable harm. The statute requires firsthand knowledge of that put in an affidavit. It can be difficult to get an emergency. So if it’s in one of those gray areas or you need time to further investigate to see if you have enough for an emergency notice of suspension may be the right action for you. But you don’t want to do any of that until you talk to an attorney.
So if you’re facing any of these circumstances, get specific legal advice to your circumstances and do that by talking confidentially with a lawyer. To talk with an Oklahoma child custody attorney at my office, you go online to makelaweasy.com.