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What if a co-parent won’t let someone see their children?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Child Custody

In Iowa, once parents separate or divorce, shared custody is often the result. Family law judges may craft a custody order splitting both parenting time and authority between the two adults in a family if co-parents can’t reach mutually-agreeable terms without judicial intervention. Both parents will likely have the right to spend liberal amounts of time with their children and to have a say in their upbringing.

Unfortunately, there are some parents in Iowa who resent the continued involvement of the other parent in the lives of the children and who may go so far as to intentionally ignore or violate the terms established in a custody order. They may deny the other parent time with the children or even interfere in their communication with their children.

What can a parent do when they are dealing with violations of a custody order in Iowa?

They can petition the courts for enforcement

A custody order is a court order that people have to follow just like any other order issued by a judge. A parent doesn’t get to just choose when they want to share custody. They need to uphold the order entered by the courts or go back to court and ask a judge to change the order to better reflect the family’s circumstances.

When one parent has not upheld the existing order, the other can file paperwork asking the courts for enforcement. Should a judge determine that a violation of the order did occur, they can take several steps. They can enforce the order, possibly by granting someone make-up parenting time. They can also potentially charge someone with contempt of court, which could lead to fines and even incarceration.

In some cases, judges may view that interference in the other parent’s relationship as a sign that a modification of the original order would be in the best interests of the children. A parent not getting time with their children as they should will typically need to document their experience and know their rights so that they can successfully take the matter to the Iowa family courts.

Seeking legal guidance and fighting back when one parent has unfairly interfered in the relationship that the other has with their children may take time but may eventually result in an order protecting the rights of the parent who has been previously denied access.