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Utilization of Child Access Restriction as a Weapon in Divorce or Child Custody Disputes

Utilization of Child Access Restriction as a Weapon in Divorce or Child Custody Disputes

I have been handling high-conflict custody and divorce matters for over fourteen (14) years, and one of the recurring issues that stand out from my involvement in these cases is how some parents prevent their estranged partners from gaining access to the children of the marriage/liaison. This tactic is often employed to either “deal with” their partners, exert control over them or rein them in to comply with their demands.

Whenever I am involved in a dispute between parties regarding custody and access, I consistently advise my clients against impeding the other parent’s meaningful involvement in their children’s lives. When the other party denies my clients access to their children, I make efforts to initiate settlement talks with the opposing counsel. Where the opposing counsel or their client chooses to be unreasonable or obstinate, I challenge them firmly in the courtroom.

It is important to emphasize that children tend to be more affected when a parent is unjustly denied from being a part of their lives based on a dispute between the parents. It is irrefutable that a mother can never play the role of a father in a child’s life and vice versa. Therefore, both parents need to put aside personal grievances and prioritize cooperation in all matters involving the welfare or well-being of their children. Of course, there are no guarantees that children will turn out well in life if both parents raise them, but research suggests that active engagement from both parents generally yields positive outcomes. Thus, fostering an environment where both parents play an active role in their children’s upbringing is paramount for their holistic development and emotional well-being. The quotes below, by some authors and scholars, support this position:

“One person cannot do two full-time jobs. Writing is a full-time job and so is children. But two people can do three full-time jobs. That’s why I’m so strong on partnership. It can be a great thing.”— Ursula Le Guin

Your kids are not keeping score on your career…They just want a parent who’s emotionally present and supportive of them.”— Ben Stiller

I have built an office behind our house. Someday my daughter will look at it and think…’That’s where my dad worked to provide for us,’ and feel a little sentimental. What I never hope she thinks is, “That’s the place my dad loved more than me.”—Donald Miller.

From my experience, one of the primary reasons why women usually prevent or restrict the father of a child from being a part of the child’s life is their perception that a lot of fathers fail to fulfil their responsibilities towards their children. Indeed, I have handled cases where fathers offer inadequate monthly financial support despite being capable of contributing more significantly. While I don’t support irresponsible behaviours from fathers, I do not believe it is enough reason for a mother to prevent a father from having access to the children from the relationship.

On the other hand, I have observed instances where some fathers deliberately refuse to contact their children or provide for their welfare as a form of retaliation against the mother for her actions or because they believe that the mother cannot dictate when and how they will spend time with their children. I recently became aware of a case where an estranged husband refused to visit or speak with his children for two years just because the mother refused to bring the children to his residence and insisted on the father spending time with his children in a public space!

Fathers must understand that their most important job is to be good parents to their children. Indeed, it is pointless to excel in your career while failing at fatherhood or motherhood. Fathers must prioritize active involvement in their children’s lives and set aside personal differences for the well-being of the children. As I always tell my clients, no sacrifice is too great when it comes to playing an active role in their children’s lives.

In conclusion, I commend the numerous responsible parents who are co-parenting successfully, notwithstanding the fact that they are no longer married or together with their partners. These individuals deserve our commendation and support for their exemplary parenting efforts.

It should be noted that this article is for general information only. It is not offered as advice on any particular matter, whether legal, procedural or otherwise. If you have any questions about the issues raised in this article, please contact the author at foa@abdu-salaamabbasandco.com