What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says, “withholding a child from another parent?” This question is one of family law’s most emotionally charged and controversial topics. It’s important to know whether one parent can do this or not and how it affects your rights as a parent.
In this post, I will write 10 points about these things, so you are armed with enough information before deciding on an issue like this.
Withholding a Child from Another Parent – 10 Things to Know
#1. Can a parent keep a child away from another parent?
The short answer here is no; a parent cannot keep their child away from the other parent. There may be circumstances where the court will allow parents to have limited visitation. But this will be done only if it is in the best interest of the children and it would not affect their relationship with the other parent too much.
Even if you think your ex-husband’s girlfriend is interfering with child custody, you can’t withhold the other parent’s visitation by yourself.
You can all go to court to ask for a court order to limit the visitation time or something else according to the situation. Not letting see the child by another parent is not acceptable at all for any custodial parent.
#2. What are the reasons for withholding a child from another parent?
Sometimes, the reasons for this action are understandable. For example, if there has been aggression or abuse between parents, one parent may feel that it is in the children’s best interest not to have contact with that person.
In other cases, it may be due to growing up in an atmosphere where their other parent was abusive or neglectful.
They do not want this situation to repeat itself, so they withhold visitation rights from them. It might also be done because one parent does not agree about where or how often a child should visit the other parent’s home.
It can also be for the reasons like a fear that the child may not return, just anger and even revenge against the noncustodial parent. The overall goals of a parent who withholds their child are generally about gaining control over what goes on in their children’s lives.
There are many reasons why someone would withhold visitation rights from another parent. However, it is always best to determine these reasons before making any decisions about this issue to ensure they are justifiable.
Consult your attorney if you need help determining whether withholding a child from another parent would be appropriate or if you need legal advice on preventing your child from being withheld.
#3. Keeping a child away from the other parent can backfire:
The emotional consequence is that if a child is kept away from their other parent for too long, it could lead to mistrust of that parent. This can damage the relationship between the parent and child, and yes, it can backfire.
As a legal consequence, you may be charged with contempt of court for withholding a child from the other parent, and this can result in penalties such as fines or even jail time.
In fact, courts usually do not allow people to keep their children away from another parent unless there is a good reason, like abuse. Even you may lose your custodial right.
Withholding may happen from both sides. But, the research said that more than 80% time, usually, mothers are very prone to this. The below video might be helpful to know what to do when the mother keeps the child from the father:
#4. What if I don’t agree about how often/where my child should visit?
Not all parents agree on visitation times and places—this is normal, and it does not necessarily mean that one parent can withhold a child from another parent.
If you feel your child should visit their other parent more often or want to make changes to the location where they can visit, then speak with a lawyer about how you can settle this issue legally and agreeably.
You may file a motion for visitation modification if you cannot agree to the visitation schedule. A parent can also file for such action as stated above to try and change the location or times their children will be allowed to see the other parent’s home.
If your ex-spouse denies these requests, it is essential to follow further instructions by the court so that you do not end up being charged with contempt of court charges.
#5. What is it called when a parent keeps a child from the other parent?
The legal term for a parent keeping his or her child away from the other parent is called parental alienation. The term “parental alienation” describes behaviors when one parent tries to turn their kids against the other parent for no valid reason.
They do this to make the child feel like an outsider regarding their other parent. The parent also tries to make the child feel as if they do not love or want them while at the same time telling them that they do not like the other parent either.
Parental alienation can happen with both parents trying to turn a child against another parent, but it occurs more often with mothers than fathers. You can read this guideline to prevent parental alienation
#6. Can I stop the non-custodial parent from visiting our child?
No, you can’t if there is a court order of visitation. However, you can stop your ex-spouse from seeing or visiting with the children if there is a specific court order barring them from doing so. A violation of visitation rights may also be grounds for criminal charges to be filed by an aggrieved parent.
Even you can’t stop a parent who does not pay child support or financial responsibilities. Both are totally different things. You can only stop a parent with no rights to the child, not those who are paying child support.
It is also illegal for an unmarried father to take the child from the mother without the proper permission of the court.
But, still, if you want to stop them for valid reasons, you can go for a court order. You can ask a judge to limit visitation if you can prove that visitation will significantly hurt the child’s physical health or impair the child’s emotional growth.
#7. What if I’m not sure if he/she is withholding the child?
If you are uncertain of your ex-spouse’s intentions in taking your child away from you, there are still steps that you can take to protect yourself.
If you’re having a tough time getting visitation rights with your kids and aren’t sure whether or not it will do any good to make a police report, then speak with a lawyer about doing so. He/she may be able to help you file for a temporary order of custody until the judge reviews it.
This type of order gives them immediate authority over where the children are allowed to go and when they have times set aside for visiting other parents. If your spouse moves out with your child before divorce, you should be conscious of it.
#8. What can I do if my ex is keeping my child from me?
First, try to mitigate the problem by directly talking with your ex. You may get help from a meditator or a family lawyer. If nothing works, take your ex to court to enforce the visitation order. If they don’t obey the court order, the court can hold your ex accountable for any violations.
#9. Can the police help me get my child back?
The answer is NO; they can’t do that. It is not the role of the police to solve family disputes. However, if you have an order from the court, you can ask the police to help enforce it. If there is no order, they can’t do anything about it. Only a judge can take your child back from an ex-spouse.
#10. How to legally stop someone from seeing your child?
You can ask a judge to issue an order to limit or stop visitation if you have a good reason. To be eligible for the court order, you must prove that your ex-spouse’s visits are harmful.
You can file for child support services, which will likely lead to one parent [the non-custodial parent] having their visitation rights limited or stopped. Withholding a child from another parent without a court order is not possible.
I hope we have answered all the questions about stopping a child from visiting by another parent. You should consult your attorney if you have any questions or queries regarding this issue. He/she can advise you on the child custody issue and its proceedings.