Feeling cut off from your children could be the worst experience for a loving parent. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happens to a number of parents during a divorce.
Although it may violate the temporary custody order during a divorce or the permanent order entered at the end of divorce proceedings, it is possible for the spouse with more parenting time to refuse to let the other parent see the kids.
If you find yourself in a situation where you aren't getting your appropriate parenting time with your children, you may need to take legal action to enforce your visitation schedule and parenting plan.
If custody is contentious, you will want professional help
Whether or not your ex has a lawyer already, if they refuse to let you see your children as ordered by the courts, you have to assume they will fight you in divorce proceedings as well. Even if you have already finished your divorce, you may need to work with an attorney to resolve the issue.
Your attorney can review any temporary or permanent custody order on record for your case and advise you of your rights. They can also help you formulate a legal strategy if your ex isn't willing to adhere to the plan laid out in the court order.
More importantly, a family law lawyer can help you file paperwork to ensure that adequate enforcement actions take place. If enforcement doesn't fix the problem, your lawyer may be able to help you modify the custody situation. The courts tend to frown on one parent intentionally alienating the children from the other.
Stay on your best behavior
Not getting the time you want with your children can be incredibly disappointing. Disappointment can inspire us to act out in emotional and irrational manners. It could be that your ex wants you to lash out. That could help them prove claims that you are controlling, unstable or even violent.
Your best bet is to stay calm and professional in any situation, even if your ex outright refuses you any parenting time with your children.
Document everything that involves a violation
Anytime you don't get your full allocation visitation and parenting time, you should document the date, the location, what was said and any other pertinent details. You may then use the documentation to communicate the seriousness of the issue to your ex.
For example, sending an email outlining how many times you have received shortened or no parenting time could help them understand how frequently it happens. Written communication can also benefit you. Provided that you remain calm and respectful in your communications, having documentation of your ex confirming the withholding of visitation can help you in court.
Additionally, written communication can reduce the likelihood of responding out of anger or emotion. Standing up for your rights as a parent isn't always easy. However, it is important both to you and to the children that you love. If your ex won't work with you by upholding the court's custody schedule, you will likely need to take legal action to enforce your parental rights in California.