OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate approved a measure Wednesday to protect the visitation rights of noncustodial parents.
Senate Bill 1612, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would require custodial parents to provide the noncustodial parents, who are current on their child support, with the court ordered visitation schedule.
“Sadly, we have a common occurrence of noncustodial parents being denied their visitation rights by angry, bitter custodial parents without consideration of how it’s affecting their children. Kids need both of their parents and if a judge has ruled on visitation then both parents need to honor that schedule,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “Noncustodial parents can be fined for not paying their child support and we need to also ensure that custodial parents hold up their end of the agreement.”
Many District Attorneys in the state have divisions dedicated to securing child support payments from noncustodial parents. Those who fail to pay their child support face imprisonment and fines. Sharp noted, though, that hardly any effort has been made in Oklahoma to protect the visitation rights of noncustodial parents.
Under SB 1612, a custodial parent who refused to provide the court-ordered visitation schedule to the noncustodial parent would face a fine. The bill would also create a form for noncustodial parents to fill out at their local courthouse informing the district court that their visitation rights have been denied by the custodial parent.
The measure would also require that future divorce decrees define the penalty if the custodial parent denies the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent and also require that the custodial parent must show cause as to why the visitation schedule was violated.
SB 1612 now moves to the House for further consideration.