It is maddening, not to mention illegal when one parent prevents the other one from seeing their children.
Studies indicate that children do better academically and with their behaviour when both parents are in the picture. The key is to remedy this situation and reconnect with the kids as soon as possible.
Hindering visitation is violating the parenting plan and has legal ramifications. Being behind in child support is not a reason to be banned from contact with the little ones.
Document. Document. Document. This is crucial in building a case, particularly when taking legal action. Save all texts, voice and e-mails and jot down the times and dates of conversations. Keep records of any contact with your ex.
Some parents have a calendar which they write on when they have visitation and when they have been blocked from it.
Try to communicate and work with your former partner on why visitation is being disrupted. Let them know that you are willing to listen to their concerns.
Could there be any validity to their accusations – that you are chronically late returning the youngsters or sometimes cancel at the last minute?
See if it is possible to negotiate a new visitation agreement that meets the kids’ needs in a better way. Remember the goal of shared care time is what is in the best interests of the children – not the parents.
If you are told that the kids do not want to see you, remind the co-parent that visitation is to take place unless legally stopped.
Parental alienation may be happening with the other parent lying or telling the kids that you stopped contact. Parental alienation’s goal is to turn the children away from the absent parent and get him/her to go away.
Go to the Cafcass officer or to your mediator/solicitor to take legal action and have visitation enforced. Petition the court to have the kids see a therapist or divorce coach for possible parental alienation and to discuss their concerns in this divorce situation.
Talking to a neutral third party is beneficial for the kids especially when they have been told lies which damaged their relationship with you.
Are there mutual friends that can intervene or let the children know that both parents love them? Are you on good terms with any former in-laws who may be able to knock some sense into the other parent’s head?
Consider if the other parent is a flight risk, especially if they are from a country outside of the EU. It may be prudent to discuss this with passport control and a solicitor to prevent the other parent from kidnapping the kids and going into hiding.
Make sure to take care of yourself and your health. It may be helpful to discuss your frustration with a divorce coach. Maintain your social network to provide support for you during this trying time. Exercise is a great way to release anxiety. Nurture yourself so you have the energy to pursue action and reunite with your children.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce