Whether you share custody of your child with your co-parent or you have custody and they have visitation rights, there may come a time when you develop concerns about what’s happening when your child is with their other parent.
Concerns can range from finding out that your co-parent hands off most of their parenting responsibilities to their significant other while they go out with friends to your child telling you their other parent or someone else in the home is hitting or otherwise abusing them.
Is there an imminent danger for your child?
If there’s a court order granting your ex shared custody or visitation, you can’t just refuse to comply with it unless it would put your child in imminent danger. If that’s the case, you certainly shouldn’t deliver your child to a home where they won’t be safe.
If the problem is something that your co-parent may not know about or can fix and it doesn’t involve their abuse of your child, it may be best to try to resolve the problem with them first. Maybe they have a roommate who doesn’t lock up their firearm or alcohol properly, for example.
If your child has told you that someone (including your ex) is sexually or otherwise physically abusing them, of course, that’s another matter. However, if you decide it’s best to prevent your child from seeing their other parent, to avoid being in contempt of a court order, you should seek legal guidance immediately so that you can get an emergency hearing scheduled.
Questionable parenting choices generally aren’t enough to withhold access
You can’t refuse to allow your co-parent to spend time with your child because you don’t like their parenting choices. If your co-parent allows your child to eat too much candy, for example, that’s something you should discuss or incorporate into your parenting plan. If your co-parent gives your child candy bars with peanuts even though they have a serious peanut allergy, that’s a very different issue.
The best thing to do if your child is in danger at your co-parent’s home is to document what you’ve learned and then get legal advice about what steps you can take to keep your child safe.