Child access to divorced or separated parents is sometimes referred to as travel. When both parents treat each other fairly and politely and no matter what they think of each other, children always feel that having two loving and caring adults in their lives will bring more benefits to their children. The support of both parents is very important to ensure that everyone has enough quality time with their children to maintain a healthy relationship regardless of divorce.
But divorce is so bitter that it causes one parent to resent the other so much that the well-being of the children comes second and the other parents suffer. How does the so-called “parent of entry” enforce his or her privacy rights? The answer is not simple.
When granting separation agreements or divorce orders, it is almost impossible to get a court to enforce when one parent refuses to give one parent the right to “liberal”, “fair” or “generous” access when “guardian” parents or “primary care” parents refuse. To cooperate. When access parents take such a complaint to court, the result is almost always a change to a more specific approach based on a specific schedule. The reason is clear. Words like “fair” are too vague to be easily enforced. Such terms are more appropriate when they allow reasonable parents to have all the flexibility they need to work for the good of their children. But when one or both parents are willing to use deliberate ambiguity, they are worse off than useless. Changing the entry terms in the divorce order to a fixed schedule allows a divorce judge to have a better idea of whether or not the terms have actually been violated.
Even when the proper entry is denied, the court is more likely to re-issue a slightly amended divorce order and issue a stern warning than to punish the foster parents in some meaningful way. A divorce judge is likely to take drastic action only after the denial of entry has become chronic.
This is unfortunate, of course, because parents who have been denied entry will have to bear the financial and emotional costs of going to court again and again, before a judge will do something about the other parents’ refusal to comply with the rules. Access. Also, it takes time to appear in court again and again, and in the meantime, children lose the opportunity to be given access to build and maintain a strong relationship with adoptive parents.
The reason judges are reluctant to act swiftly and decisively in response to complaints of denial of access is because existing responses are generally unattractive. Finding foster parents in contempt of the divorce order can result in a fine or even imprisonment. A fine usually deprives the family, most importantly the children, of much needed money. Imprisonment clearly refuses to be their main guardian and may exacerbate the already existing stressful relationship between the parents.
Changing the amount of child assistance paid is an unattractive option because, presumably, the amount set in advance is determined for the benefit of the children. Affected access denies children the financial resources they need by allowing parents to pay less or suspend payments.
Another option is to order some form of makeup access, but this begs the question of how to adequately enforce makeup access. Appointing someone as an access facilitator can help. However, if parents can’t agree on someone who works for free, it can be a bit expensive. Also, disputes between parents and the access provider may end up before the judge again.
A strong, but usually effective response is for the court to reverse the parental role, then the children go into the primary care of the person who became the adoptive parent. It is now the responsibility of accessible parents to ensure that their children are given appropriate access with other parents. This puts the relevant shoes on the other foot. Perhaps this threat alone is enough to change the attitudes of those who deny access. But the threat must be real.
The problem with this final approach is, presumably, that the roles of guardian and accessible parent were initially performed because it was in the best interests of the children. The court must determine that the denial of access is very serious. The reversal of the role, regardless of other factors, initially led to the assignment of roles by the court or the parties themselves.
Sometimes, when it is important to reject access, when it is inappropriate to change roles, and when the adverse effects of an existing dispute affect children, the reduction or even the complete abolition of access to a divorce court should be seriously considered. Of course this is completely unfair to the aggrieved parent, and the guilt of denying access will be unjustly rewarded to the parents, these considerations are secondary to the well-being of the children. Therefore, in some cases, it is an option that the divorce court will take seriously.
The best course of action for a parent who is denied access by other parents is to take a higher path. This means making sure that his or her own behavior is not discredited. It also means being reasonable, patient and very patient and doing everything possible to minimize the adverse effects of conflict on children. However, it simply does not mean to lie down and take it. But before you take an entry dispute to a divorce court, you need to think long and hard about what the divorce court is asking you to enforce. It is up to you to convince the court that your solution is in the best interests of the children.