A parent cannot lawfully stop the child from seeing the other parent in violation of a court order. Court orders are not suggestions; they direct parents to comply with them. A parent who refuses to comply with a child custody order and stops a child from seeing the other parent violates the court order. A parent who violates a child custody order may be held in contempt of court.
Withholding a child from the other parent is commonly referred to as “gate-keeping.”
Gate-keeping is defined as “the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.”
Parental gate-keeping encompasses attitudes and behaviors by either parent that affect the quality of the other-parent-child relationship and/or level of involvement with the child in either a positive or negative way.
Custodial parents have a lot of power and control over their children. They can usually dictate the type and frequency of contact that a non-custodial parent has with their children. For example, a mother may insist that a child is constantly sick on days when a father is supposed to have visitation, and she may refuse to make up that missed parenting time. A custodial father might refuse to keep a non-custodial mother up-to-date on a child’s medical issues, schooling, or extracurricular activities. In many instances, the custodial parent says negative things about the non-custodial parent while in front of the child, thereby shaping how the child views the non-custodial parent.
Sometimes this type of gate-keeping is intentional in that one parent tries to cut the other parent out of the child’s life as a form of retribution. In other instances, the gate-keeping parent simply feels like they know what is best for the child or that the non-custodial parent is incapable of adequately caring for the child. Regardless of the justification behind parental gate-keeping, it can have tremendous implications for you and your child. You need to know about these impacts, especially if you want to use the legal system as a way to protect your child and maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable child custody determination.
If you struggle with someone who refuses to follow the court-ordered child custody agreement? Keep Reading….
Anything that goes against the custody order is a violation. There are rare circumstances where a one-time break in the agreement is allowed. These rare circumstances almost exclusively pertain to emergencies.
A few examples of what constitutes breaking a court-ordered custody agreement include:
- One parent refusing court-ordered visitation to the other parent
- One parent continually missing their visitation time
- One parent interrupting the other’s parenting time
- A parent leaving state or country without the other parent’s permission
- A parent running away with the children (parental kidnapping)
If you have an informal agreement or no agreement, and your partner decides to deny you access to your child, you may need to take several actions, including:
- Discussing the problem and trying to resolve it between yourselves without confrontation
- Consulting a family solicitor for advice
- Referring the issue to a local family mediator for alternative dispute resolution
- Asking the court for a child custody order
If you live in Georgia and need assistance from a trained professional, we urge you to contact us today. Attorney Boyd is dedicated to family law cases such as these and will fight for what’s in the child’s best interests. Don’t delay… schedule a consultation today!
If you find yourself constantly trying to make excuses for or defend your partner, you might want to consider that you may be in a toxic relationship. Some of your partner’s negative characteristics may be hard to acknowledge yourself, which is totally understandable. However, you don’t deserve to be the only one picking up the pieces and trying to fix the behavior they exhibit or the actions they carry out.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.