Ending a failed romantic relationship should not end your relationship with your children. Whether you and your ex are in the middle of a messy divorce or never married and have just split up, the relationship with your children should not suffer because of your relationship with the other parent.
Unfortunately, some people will use their children as a weapon to hurt their ex after a split. What can you do to protect yourself when your ex refuses to let you see or even communicate with your children?
Start keeping records
The best thing that you can do to show that this behavior is the problem is to document it. Keeping a written record of every time your ex hangs up the phone without letting you speak to your children or turns you away instead of letting you spend some time with him can paint a compelling picture of parental alienation. Especially when such actions are a direct violation of a custody agreement, they may strengthen your case if you have to go to family court.
Take stuff to formally establish your rights if necessary
If you never married the other parent of your child, you may have to formally establish your parental rights to seek custody or parenting time. This process might even include court hearings and genetic testing if the other parent does not readily acknowledge you.
Once you have grounds to request parenting time, you can ask for a shared custody arrangement and then enforce it if your ex doesn’t comply.
Try to find a solution that works with your ex
Either through direct communication or by communicating through your lawyers, you may be able to negotiate a shared custody arrangement. Your documentation of denied visits and communication could help during this process.
Sometimes, if couples cannot work things out, the Texas family courts will expect them to go through mediation before litigating a custody dispute or asking for court-based enforcement of an existing order.
Ask a judge to affirm your parental rights
If you cannot reach an agreement with your ex or if they agree to certain terms but then persist in refusing your parenting time, you might have no choice but to go through the Texas family courts to ask for enforcement.
A judge can order make-up time for your previously denied visitation. They could reprimand your spouse for their behavior. They might even modify an existing parenting plan to increase your parenting time because of your ex’s behavior toward you.
Understanding your rights during a custody dispute can help you protect your relationship with your children.