Children can sometimes become weapons in an acrimonious divorce. Parents may try to turn them against one another or use threats about custody and parenting time to push for the terms they want.
If your ex has told you that you’ll never see the kids again, or you came home after the day they served you with paperwork, only to realize your ex had already left with the children, defending your relationship with the kids is probably your biggest concern in your upcoming divorce.
How do the courts approach custody?
In Colorado, the focus is on the best interests of the kids and how to divide parental rights and responsibilities in a way that supports them. Usually, that means keeping both parents actively involved. The courts tend to frown on parents who intentionally try to damage the relationship between their children and their ex.
Shared parental responsibilities are typically the best solution
Divorce is hard on children. They often blame themselves. Even if they don’t, they have to completely change their living situation, daily routine and possibly their social circle if they can’t stay in the same school district after the divorce.
Ensuring that the children can rely on their parents during this crucial time is of the utmost importance for their social and mental health. One parent refusing to work with the other and using their own anger as an excuse to damage the relationship between their children and their ex might influence how the courts split up parenting time and other parental responsibilities.
Even temporary custody orders usually give both parents access
It can take a while for a judge to look over your family’s circumstances and determine the best way to allocate parental rights and responsibilities. The courts usually authorize a less thorough parenting plan when one parent initially files. Even temporary orders will usually protect the relationships of both parents.
However, in some cases, the spouse filing my allege substance abuse, neglect or abuse as a means of cutting their ex out of the family. Although you typically can’t prevent an emergency order from affecting your parenting time in the short term, you can fight back against inaccurate claims about your behavior or any other effort to alienate you from the children.
If the courts see a pattern of one parent trying to damage the relationship of the children with the other, that could affect the final ruling in your divorce. Even the short-term disruption in your relationship that you experience right now could eventually benefit you and the children, provided that you respond to it appropriately. Documenting everything and consistently trying to obtain parenting time while avoiding directly including the kids in the conflict can help you secure a more fair final order.