Can I Legally Prevent My Children from Seeing Their Other Parent?
Can a Parent Stop a Child From Seeing the Other Parent?
Yes, it is possible to legally prevent your ex from any contact with your children, under certain circumstances. If, for example, your ex is abusive or potentially dangerous, keeping your children out of his or her reach may be necessary.
While, in many cases, it is typically better for children to have a relationship with both of their parents, there may be other situations when keeping your ex out of your children’s lives is in their best interest. However, legally alienating your ex from the children you share is no simple task, and it should not be undertaken lightly.
Reasons for Keeping Your Child Away from the Mother or Father
If you wish to prevent your children from any access to their other parent, you must have sufficient reasoning and evidence. Granting one parent complete control over their children is not very common, so there must be proof that the other parent is somehow unfit to parent.
- Substance abuse or physical/sexual abuse: In instances where the other parent is physically or sexually abusive towards the children or has an alcohol or drug addiction, the courts will likely comply.
- Unfit parenting: If the parent is in anyway unfit to parent such as displaying neglect or engaged in criminal activity, you can take your issue before a judge and attempt to gain sole custody of your children.
However, in situations less severe, it could be very difficult to completely prevent a parent from any access to their children. In most situations, the court will still grant visitation rights, perhaps with required supervision.
Requesting Sole Child Custody
To have full control over the physical and legal decisions regarding your children, you must be granted sole custody. Whereas joint custody allows each parent to have some say in your child’s upbringing, sole custody grants one parent complete control over things like schooling, medical care, religious teachings, and so on. However, even though the parent with sole custody may make these decisions without consulting the other parent, the courts may need to be notified if you plan to prevent the other parent from any access to their children.
For instance, a parent with sole custody must still notify the courts if he or she wishes to relocate with their children since it’s likely the other parent was granted visitation rights, which would be affected if you relocated. Failing to follow court-ordered visitation schedules of shared custody arrangements could result in severe consequences, which may impact the time you have with your children.
Learn More About Modifying Custody to Protect Your Child
If you wish to make a change to your custody arrangement by completely preventing your children from seeing their other parent, you may have legal options. Contact a family law attorney to discuss your situation, the reason you wish to alienate your ex, and what you might be able to do, legally.For help with legal issues involving child custody or visitation arrangements, contact McKinley Irvin at our Washington office.