When it comes to co-parenting, making your parenting plan is only the first part. Now it’s up to each parent to stick to that plan without deviation.
Divorce often leaves messy, hurt feelings. To get back at one another, people can sink to ugly tactics. This, unfortunately, can include weaponizing time with the kids. One parent may block another from their legal visitation rights, which is ultimately bad for everyone.
By law, your child visitation or direct custody cannot be blocked. Here are some steps you can take when your ex is keeping you from your children.
Review Your Original Parenting Plan
Before rushing to seek legal justice, you can try taking another look at your visitation and custody agreements. The court bases these plans on the realities of the moment. Perhaps your ex isn’t intentionally withholding your kids. The original plan may have simply become irrelevant and impossible to follow.
Try to communicate with your ex, and see if you can schedule a time to review that original plan. Make sure it works with everyone’s current work, school, and social schedule. If it doesn’t, the plan needs to change.
Be on the lookout for any vagueness or loopholes within the plan. If any exists, they will make the plan difficult to follow or enforce. Restructure your plan to be more rigid and less open to interpretation. Create specific times and locations for pick-ups and drop-offs. Your relationship with your ex may be contentious. If so, consider recruiting a neutral friend or family member to help facilitate these hand-offs.
If you can rework the plan with your former spouse, do so. Then send it to a legal professional who can help you spot any mistakes or potential pitfalls. When working with your ex is not an option, you may need to return to court and let the state create a better parenting plan for you.
Respond to Intentional Blocking
When it’s clear that your ex is blocking your visitation on purpose, it’s time to act. There are no legal justifications for this behavior. Even if you are behind on support payments, you still have a right to see your kids according to your parenting plan. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t see your children. Only the court can make that decision for you.
Parents have the right to temporarily alter a parenting plan in an emergency. The change must be reasonable, and the parent who breaks the plan must communicate with the other parent. If a parent routinely uses emergencies as an excuse to alter the plan, this is unacceptable.
Urgent Action Against Visitation Blocking
If your former spouse has run off with the children, you need immediate help. Call the police or your district attorney’s child abduction unit. This behavior is technically a form of kidnapping, and it requires a prompt response.
Action Against a General Pattern of Visitation Blocking
In a less severe situation, one where you’re being generally kept from the kids, contact your attorney. They can help you file a contempt action against your ex. After reviewing the facts, the court can send your former spouse a stern warning. It will tell them to follow the required plan or face criminal consequences.
If you’re having difficulty seeing your children, contact us right away for help. We can help you alter your existing parenting plan, and, if necessary, file the necessary claims to force your ex’s compliance. Our number is (916) 299-3936, and you can reach us online.