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Can your ex cut you off from the children when they file divorce?

Some people don’t realize their marriage is in trouble until their spouse serves them with divorce paperwork. Rather than having time to slowly adjust to the idea of a separation, these people may have to arrange for someplace else to live and adjust to shared custody with almost no warning.

Often, the spouse who files for divorce has certain advantages in the short-term future. They knew about the filing, which means they will have had time to plan for their own financial protection. They will likely have already retained an attorney as well, while you have to find a lawyer and learn about divorce laws.

You may also be concerned that your ex might summarily cut you off from access to the children when they file for divorce.

Maryland law protects the rights of both parents 

Our state’s family law system aims to give parents an opportunity to create their own parenting plans. The system focuses on the best interests of the children and on minimizing conflicts. Some spouses going through a divorce can cooperate and create temporary custody arrangements that uphold the rights of the parents and children alike.

Unfortunately, some parents are uncooperative. They may even be willing to put their own petty frustrations ahead of what is best for the children. Most people have heard horror stories about a spouse who intentionally refuses visitation or frequently cancels parenting time. Can your ex successfully use divorce as a way to keep you from the kids?

The courts won’t let a parent use the children as a weapon

When parents can’t set their own custody terms in a divorce, they require the assistance of a family court judge. A judge can establish a parenting plan or shared custody order that they believe will be in the best interests of the children. Most of the time, they will try to support the regular involvement of both parents.

Only in cases involving abandonment, addiction, neglect or abuse are the courts likely to authorize one parent to receive full custody without at least frequent visitation for the other. In fact, if a parent intentionally refuses access to the other during divorce proceedings, the courts may consider that attempted parental alienation, which is an action not in the best interests of the children. Showing that your ex has repeatedly refused your parenting time rights without justification could result in a more favorable custody arrangement for you.

Recognizing that short-term custody hardships caused by your ex may affect their rights more than yours can help you handle a contentious divorce more appropriately.