As a New York parent filing for a divorce, you must work out an agreement with your ex regarding all issues pertaining to your children, such as where they will live and how much financial provision each of you will contribute. Even if you disagree about a specific issue, you can resolve it through negotiation. If that does not go well, you can ask the court to intervene and make child custody decisions on your behalf.
Once terms of agreement have been set, you and your ex must adhere to them. Sometimes, serious problems can arise when one parent disregards a child custody order. For instance, you might notice things with your kids that suggest your ex might be trying to turn them against you. In the family justice system, this is known as parental alienation.
Child custody should be fair and agreeable
You do not have to be best friends with your ex to have a peaceful child custody arrangement. You both must be committed to keeping the kids’ best interests in mind and treating each other with respect. Anything less is just rude, and possibly unlawful. The following list shows elements that might exist if your ex is purposely using parental alienation to turn your kids against you after your divorce:
- You overhear your ex saying negative things about you to your kids.
- Your children keep not wanting to go with you when it is your turn to have them.
- The kids act angry at you and blame you for the divorce.
- They seem overly loyal to your ex, often at your expense.
- Your ex has denied access to your kids by taking their electronic devices away or not letting them call you, or not allowing you to communicate with them when you try to text or call or have a virtual chat.
No one (except the judge who is overseeing your child custody case) can prohibit you from interacting with your children. If the court has not ordered any restrictions, then you are free to communicate with your kids whenever you like. If your ex is trying to prevent that or is doing things to impede your relationship with your kids, it may be a sign of parental alienation.
Steps to take to resolve child custody issues
If it is your turn to have custody of your kids, and your ex is not allowing it or other problems keep arising, you can ask the court to review your child custody case. If your ex is disregarding a court order, the judge can hold him or her in contempt. Never be afraid to exercise your parental rights by asking the court to enforce its orders.