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What are dos and don'ts when denied parenting time?

Divorce in Minnesota is difficult enough when it's just a couple who decides that they can't stay together and chooses to part ways. When there are children involved, it's not a matter of separating the bank accounts, dividing up the property and moving on. There will be a lifelong link between the parents when they share a child. The best case scenario is for the parents to act civilly toward one another in the best interests of the child. That, however, is not always possible. In some instances, the parent who was granted child custody prevents the other parent from having parenting time. There are strategies that a parent should consider before undertaking a protracted legal fight.

If there is a reason for the decision not to grant the other parent visitation rights, it shouldn't be done unilaterally, but through the court system. If it's done out of spite, then the parent who is being denied can't do something equally spiteful and capricious such as refusing to pay child support. All this does is put the supporting parent in a position where the dispute can escalate and a court will intervene on the behalf of the parent who was supposed to be receiving payments and, in certain cases, started the back-and-forth to begin with. The child is inevitably the one who will suffer.

Short of going to court for another battle, the first option is to talk to the other spouse about the problems that are leading to the decision to deny parenting time. While the issues that sparked the divorce and the parent with physical custody not allowing the other parent time with the child might still be fresh, there are times when reasoning works. In some cases, the issue might be a misunderstanding between one or both parents and it can be settled amicably.

Restarting the legal process is always an option and it's preferable to deciding not to pay child support or making some other decision that will only make matters worse. The key is understanding the laws and issues that come into play during any divorce involving children. It can't be stressed more forcefully that the worst thing a parent can do is to take matters into that parent's own hands and deteriorate the situation further. Discussing the matter with an attorney is the way to deal with it legally if reasoning doesn't succeed.

Source: The Huffington Post, "What Not To Do If Your Spouse Denies You Parenting Time," Joseph E. Cordell, Jan. 23, 2014

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