What Should I Do If My Child's Mom Isn't Letting Me See Our Child?
As a divorce lawyer of over twenty-two (22) years, I have seen many cases where one parent, either the mother or the father has interfered with the relationship between the child and the other parent or caused issues between the child and the other parent. This can range from cases where parents have separated (this happens most often in cases where the parents are not married but can happen with married couples as well) and the mother insists on dictating every detail of parenting time, or on the other hand, issues where the mother would like to allow the father to have parenting time, but the father continues to make poor decisions, acts negatively toward her (the mother), neglects the child during his parenting time or the father exercises parenting time sporadically at best. The parent that is attempting to have a relationship with the child or encourage the relationship with a difficult parent often feels powerless, confused or lost. Of course, any of these scenarios can involve the mother or the father making the parenting errors.
In such cases it is important to take action as soon as possible. If you can afford to hire an attorney, call an attorney and schedule a consultation as soon as possible. If you cannot afford counsel, then contact the Friend of the Court and seek assistance and/or file a motion on your own behalf with the court. In Michigan, we have judges that handle only family law matters and there are many options for dealing with these situations. The importance of the child's relationship with both parents, despite reasonable shortcomings, is a basic guiding principle of family law in our state. So, if the other parent is denying you parenting time, you have the right to at least some parenting time with the child. This principle is tempered with the knowledge that not all parents are created equal and some parents are simply not able to handle it. One way or the other, it is very important to act. The court will not have sympathy for someone who fails to take action. If the other parent is denying parenting time and you do not file a motion or otherwise bring the issue to the attention of the court, the judge will believe that you do not care.
On the other hand, if you are a parent that has custody of the child and the other parent fails to exercise scheduled parenting time, continues to make poor decisions during parenting time, continues to be insulting or aggressive toward you or our family members, or acts in any number of unacceptable ways, you should immediately file a motion to stop this behavior. First, such actions are not good for the child and the child should not have to be disappointed by a parent repeatedly failing to show for parenting time, or dealing with the stress of hearing one parent insult, yell at or degrade the other parent in front of the child. Second, you should not have to deal with rescheduling to handle last minute "cancellations" of parenting time or feel the anxiety of anticipating an openly hostile parenting time exchange. Finally, again, the longer that one fails to act with regards to such issues, the less important it will appear to the court.
If you are facing such issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office by calling us at (248) 608-4123 or [email protected].