When married couples with children divorce or unmarried parents break up, they typically have to find a way to split parental rights and responsibilities. In Colorado, both parents have a right to seek shared parenting time and to play a role in the decision-making regarding their children, provided that their involvement is in the best interests of the children.
Most couples with kids will, however begrudgingly, find ways to make shared custody work. However, sometimes, one parent will try to push away the other without any justification for doing so. Can your ex just refuse to give you parenting time?
Your involvement is what your children need
Decades of psychological and sociological research have made it clear that keeping both parents involved with the children after the end of the parental relationship is usually best for the kids. Only in situations where one parent poses a clear threat of harm to the children due to negligence, abuse, or, possibly, addiction, will the courts typically award one parent sole custody while refusing rights to a parent who wants to remain involved.
Even while you wait for a custody order, your ex should give you a reasonable amount of parenting time and access to the children. If they refuse to do so, you should document each time they won’t let you speak to the children on the phone or pick the kids up for a visit. Doing so will help you show a pattern of unreasonable denial.
Parental alienation can harm vulnerable children
When one parent tries to interfere in the relationship with their children have with their other parents, that parent might do long-term damage to the children. Parental alienation might involve simply denying one parent time with the children, but it often also involves talking negatively about the other parent in a way that damages how the children perceive the parent targeted by the behavior.
The goal is to turn the children against the other parent with little regard for the children, who will lose out on one of their most important relationships. When you can show the court that your ex has attempted to alienate you from the children, they may factor that into their initial custody order or may consider it grounds for a modification that allocates substantially more parenting time to you.
Knowing your rights and the state standards in a shared custody scenario can help you stand up for yourself and your relationship with your kids.