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Can one parent prevent the other from seeing their children?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Child Custody

People who choose to have children together often expect to spend their lives together and to share the responsibilities concerning the parenting process. However, relationships don’t always evolve the way that people expect.

Many people who get married and start families grow apart or end up feeling alienated from their spouses because of their behavior. People may file for divorce while their children are still young to start rebuilding their lives as quickly as possible. Others try to continue working on their marriage specifically because they don’t want their relationship with their children to suffer.

Parents may worry that the other parent will interfere in their relationship with their shared children, possibly by denying them access to or communication with the kids. Yet, such fears are often unfounded due to the protections that the courts tend to honor when it comes to the rights of all fit parents.

Both parents have legal rights

Fathers and mothers are both important for the healthy development of a child socially and emotionally. The family courts therefore prefer to see parents cooperating with one another when they decide to end their romantic relationship while their children are still young.

The parent who has more time with the children should encourage the children to spend as much time as possible with the other adults in the family. They should allow for reasonable communications and regular access. A parent who refuses to let their children spend time with their other parents may cause harm through those efforts.

Intentional parental alienation doesn’t just damage the bond that an adult has with a child. It can also cause long-term psychological challenges for the children. The family courts tend to look down on those who put petty vindictiveness ahead of the best interests of the children. Parents denied visitation, particularly if the co-parent refusing them access has sent messages indicating they are intentionally interfering in the relationship, can potentially ask the courts to intervene.

A family law judge can help resolve a situation where one parent interferes in the relationship that the other has with the children using several different tools. Sometimes, they might choose to specifically adjust the division of parenting time to reflect how one adult has failed to put the children first based on their conduct. Other times, they could order makeup parenting time for the adult previously denied access to the children. In extreme circumstances, judges even have the authority to hold someone in contempt of court if they fail to adhere to the terms outlined in a custody order.

Gathering documentation that supports a claim that a co-parent has interfered in someone’s relationship with their children is often an important starting point for those concerned about parental alienation and safeguarding their parental rights.