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Has your ex denied you access to your kids after divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | child custody

When a pair of California parents decides to move on in life without each other, their decision undoubtedly has many implications in their children’s lives. The good news is that children are typically resilient and adaptable, which means they’re able to cope with major life changes when they have a strong support system. Divorce changes kids’ lives but doesn’t necessarily have to ruin them.

There are several issues that may arise after a divorce (especially if you and your ex don’t get along) that can not only cause high levels of stress for your children but could also trigger serious legal problems. One such issue, which is more common than you might think, occurs when one parent denies the other parent access to the children. Unless the court has prohibited you from seeing or contacting your kids, no one can deny you or them access to each other.

Parents must enable reasonable contact after a divorce

When you finalized your divorce, you did not agree to be at the beck and call of your former spouse regarding your children. However, you did agree to specific terms in your co-parenting plan. Also, whether you’re the custodial or non-custodial parent, you have a right to communicate with your children and must respect the same right for your ex.

Incorporating as much detail as possible into a custody agreement can help parents avoid confusion and disputes after a divorce. Is there terminology in your agreement that addresses communication and access between kids and parents? Ambiguous terms like “reasonable” can muddy the waters because each parent might interpret the word differently. In a basic custody agreement, parents can call, text or video chat their children at any time, within reason. It’s that last part that can fuel a debate.

Is there a pattern of behavior that is keeping you from your children?

If you call to talk to your children and your ex doesn’t answer the phone, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is “denying access” to your kids. Perhaps your ex was driving at the time or taking a shower or had some other legitimate excuse for not taking your call. If this type of incident frequently occurs, then you might have a problem on your hands.

If your children stay with your ex for a week at a time, and you try to call every day but are only getting a response one time (or not at all), then you can logically assume your ex is trying to deny access to your children, which is not okay.

What can you do about a child custody problem?

The existing court order that was issued in your California child custody case includes the terms to which you and your ex agreed when you finalized your divorce. If your ex is denying you access to your children, you can ask the judge to enforce the court order (if your ex is disregarding specific terms) or address the issue if the court order has not already enforced it.