It is not uncommon for divorced parents to feel resentment or even hostility toward each other. Depending on the circumstances of the breakup, you may have your own negative emotions regarding your ex, and this may make it difficult to work together as parents.
In your own mind, your feelings about your ex or other circumstances may justify your decision to refuse to allow your ex access to the children for court-ordered parenting time. However, this could have serious ramifications that could affect you and your own custody rights. While there may be sound and reasonable motivation behind denying your ex custody or visitation, you should be careful to seek legal advice if you feel you are in such a situation.
Not these reasons
If the court has ordered shared parenting or visitation to your ex, the law compels you to comply unless your children are in imminent danger. In other words, if your ex is violent, abusive or lives in an unstable situation, you may have cause to refuse to leave the children with your ex. On the other hand, the following are not acceptable reasons for keeping your children away from their other parent:
- Just because your ex does not have a separate bedroom for the children does not disqualify him or her from scheduled time with the kids.
- Child support payments are a separate issue from custody, so you cannot withhold visitation or parenting time if your ex falls behind on payments.
- When the kids are sick, they can still spend time with the other parent. Even in the hospital, your ex has the right to visitation.
- You may want to hide behind a child's own reluctance to visit the other parent, but a child not wanting to go is not a valid reason for denying your ex visitation.
- You or one of your children may accidentally or intentionally schedule other events on days when your ex is supposed to have the children, but even if there is no avoiding the conflict, you must offer to reschedule the visitation.
Above all, your own resentment or bitter feelings toward your ex do not excuse you from denying court-ordered or approved custody or visitation. This is time for your children and your ex to build their relationships, which can be a critical factor in their psychological stability as adults. Naturally, if you worry that your children are in danger or their well-being is at risk in the custody of your ex, you should bring these matters to a Kentucky legal professional for advice about the most appropriate way to respond.