Sharing custody of your children with your ex is a situation that can easily flare up into significant conflict. Despite having a custody order that clearly establishes your right to visitation or shared custody, the other parent of your children won’t give you the time you deserve with the kids.
Maybe they keep cancelling your visits and won’t even put the kids on the phone with you. It is perfectly natural to have an emotional reaction in a situation where you can’t see or interact with your children.
However, you need to remain rational and take the right steps to address the situation. How do you handle the other parent refusing to give you access to your children?
1. Communicate with the other parent about the issue
There are many reasons why one parent might start denying the other access to the children.
Maybe you disciplined one of your kids during your last parenting session, and they lied to their other parent and claimed that you physically abused them. Perhaps your ex believes that your children are in danger or that you have failed to take the necessary steps to provide for them during your parenting time.
Sometimes, just talking to the other parent can help the two of you resolve the issue and get back to a normal parenting schedule for your family.
2. Show up for parenting time, and document each cancellation
Technically, if the other parent calls you to cancel your parenting time and then you do not show up for your visit, they can potentially lay the blame for the disruption to the relationship at your feet for failing to arrive as you should. When parents show up for custody transfers, they will have an easier time proving that they were compliant with the order and the other parent was not.
You will need to document each attempt to have your time with the children where your ex refused to cooperate. You may also want to keep records of when they would not let you talk to the children on the phone or over a video call.
3. Send formal notice of your intent to exert your rights
When the other parent is uncommunicative or uncooperative despite your attempts to show up for your children, you may need to assert yourself legally. Cooperating with an attorney to send the other parent notice of how they have violated your custody arrangements and that you intend to pick the children up for your parenting time as scheduled will help.
If they still won’t allow you access to the children, you will then have a strong case for enforcement in the family courts. Taking the right steps when you don’t get to see your children as you should will help you enforce or improve your current custody arrangements and better protect your relationship with your children.