Allowing Parents To See The Children After A Divorce
A parent’s relationship with his or her child is generally encouraged in divorce proceedings. The courts try and ensure that both parents will have continuing contact with the children, for example through shared or partial custody of the child, unless continued contact between the child and the parent would not be in the best interest of the child.
Even when a court grants a parent access to the children it is not always easy to enforce the order if the reason the parent is not getting to see the children is that the children do not want to see that parent. Children may refuse to visit a parent for many different reasons. Whatever the reason, the custodial parent should assess the situation and work with the other parent if possible to encourage contact. If the child expresses a legitimate fear of mental, emotional, or physical harm from visiting a parent, the other parent should consider going back to court to seek an order limiting the detrimental contact with a parent.
In some cases where a child refuses to visit or spend time with a parent, it may be attributed to the other parent’s attitude. A parent may be accused of parental alienation if he or she continuously tries to discourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. In cases of parental alienation, the court may make changes to the custody order to allow the non-alienating parent more time with the children.
Parental interference with a parent’s time with the children can also occur when a parent refuses to make the children available during the other parent’s time. This can be by making other plans, including extracurricular activities, which take place during the other parent’s time with the children. A parent who does this may be in violation of the court order granting time with the children to the other parent and the interfering parent can be held in contempt of court. The parent who is denied access to the children can seek a finding of contempt against the other parent by showing a documented pattern of interference with court ordered visitation.
A parent’s failure to pay child support should never be used as the grounds for refusing or interfering with that parent’s court ordered access to the children. The payment or nonpayment of child support is not linked to child custody and visitation. A parent who has not paid child support should still be allowed to see his or her children pursuant to a valid court order. Similarly, a parent should not refuse to pay child support because the other parent is interfering with his visitation of the children.
Contact Us for More Information
If you are in a situation where the court awarded you partial or shared custody of your children, or otherwise awarded you time to see your children and you are being denied access to your children by the other parent, you can seek legal recourse from the courts. Additionally, if your child’s parent is not paying court ordered child support, you have various actions you can take to ensure that the child support is paid. For more information on how we can help you with your child support and child custody issues, contact us at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates serving Delaware County in all family law matters to schedule a consultation.