The judge awarded you primary custody of your children during the divorce, but you are still worried about the well-being of your children when they visit your ex. Like many other Pennsylvania parents, you have concerns that your ex is inattentive or doesn’t have your children’s best interests in mind during visitations. Is there anything you can do?
If the thought of relinquishing your children to your ex for the weekend fills you with anxiety, your first instinct might be to withhold visitation. However, this move is not likely to go in your favor. As FindLaw explains, family law courts generally prefer both parents have a relationship with the children. If you don’t allow your ex to have court-ordered visitation, you may face legal consequences.
Can you contest a difference in parenting style?
It’s important to understand that the court won’t find a difference in parenting opinions a good reason to keep your kids from their other parent. For example, your ex letting them stay up too late on a school night or eat ice cream for dinner wouldn’t be considered a safety or abuse issue on its own. You might address your concerns by having a civil, respectful discussion with your ex, but don’t expect the both of you to always see eye to eye on parenting matters.
What can you do?
On the other hand, it is always wise to listen to your children and pay attention for signs of abuse or neglect. If the kids consistently complain that they don’t want to visit, or they come home with unexplained bruises and other injuries, you may have a reason to suspect child abuse. You might also have cause for concern if your ex had a history of emotional, verbal or physical abuse during your marriage or is dependent on alcohol or drugs.
In these situations, you may want to tell law enforcement or the family law court about your concerns. It may be necessary to seek experienced counsel to protect your rights and your children’s well-being.