In a divorce, child access is of course much easier for the custodial parent (the parent who is to provide the ‘home’ for the children). For the non-custodial parent things can often be difficult, and particularly if in a high conflict divorce the custodial parent chooses to make things difficult for them. While visitation rights will have been already agreed in court, it is not hard for the custodial parent to simply be ‘out’ or to consistently late. At the same time they can turn children against the other parent among other strategies. Meanwhile the non-custodial parent does not have the right to withhold payment of maintenance in retaliation and is not even allowed to resort to verbal abuse, making it very hard for parents in these situations to regain their rights.
The first thing to do in such a situation is to try and discuss one on one with your ex-partner how their actions are only damaging for your children, and how you would like to work together to make your children’s upbringing as ‘normal’ and as pleasant as possible. Remember though whatever you do – do not bring your children into the argument or ask them to ‘choose’ between you.
Failing this, it is important to remember that you do have rights, and that you can take your ex-partner to court over these. You can also take the parent back to court in cases where you are simply unhappy with the current custody agreement, and this can be a great way to make the arrangement work better for both you and your children. Make a note of everything that happens that you aren’t happy with, and then take this to court as your ‘evidence’. You also have the right to access your children’s school and medical records and to demand a certain amount of telephone contact which can help your plight. If your ex-spouse refuses to ‘play ball’ you may even be able to argue that you should be allowed custody of the children instead.