Creating a child custody arrangement that works for everyone can be quite a challenge, especially in scenarios where you may want or need to stop your child from seeing their other parent.
If you feel the other parent is a danger to your child and wish to keep your child’s other parent from seeing them, there are certain ways to go about it to avoid legal repercussions. A skilled child custody lawyer can help you.
Generally, You Cannot Stop a Child from Seeing Their Other Parent
When making child custody decisions, the court follows the child’s best interests standard, taking into account several factors. The law favors a child having both parents present and involved in their life whenever possible.
Therefore, you generally cannot stop a child from seeing their other parent.
Exceptions Exist that May Allow You to Keep Your Child’s Other Parent Away
While, in most cases, you cannot take it upon yourself to keep your child from their other parent, some exceptions do exist.
First and foremost, if the court determines your child’s other parent is an unfit parent, you can ask the court to keep them away from your child. To determine whether a parent is “unfit,” the court will review various factors, including:
- Any history of domestic, child, or substance abuse
- The parent’s ability to care for and provide for their child
- The parent’s living situation
- The parent’s mental and physical health
- The parent’s relationship with the child
- Whether the parent has any previous criminal convictions
If the court determines a parent is unfit, they will not entrust the child with that parent. Whether the unfit parent can maintain any communication or have visitation time with the child is entirely dependent on the situation and the court’s decision.
Negative Situations Involving Your Child
You can also keep your child away from the other parent should any issues arise involving your child.
For example, if your child’s other parent has some custody or visitation as per the court order but your child comes home from that parent’s house with bruises or tells you their parent hit them, this would trigger a child custody problem.
In situations like these, you could petition the court for emergency child custody relief. This would rightfully allow you to keep your child away from the other parent without incurring any legal trouble.
Court Orders Are Not Mere Suggestions
When the court makes determinations regarding child custody, a court order goes into effect detailing the judge’s decisions. These court orders are not suggestions — you must follow a court order at all times.
If you purposely violate a court order, you could face legal consequences. You may be found in contempt of court, lose parenting time, or even lose custody altogether.
Making Changes to Child Custody Orders
It is possible to modify child custody orders if needed.
In Minnesota, you generally cannot modify custody until at least a year after the order goes into effect. However, the following exceptions to this rule exist:
- Both parents agree to the change in writing
- The child’s physical or emotional health is in danger in the current environment
- The child has been integrated into one parent’s home with the consent of the other
- The other parent has relocated to another state without consent or a court order
- Additionally, the petitioning parent must be able to prove:
- There’s been a substantial change in circumstance for either the parent or the child
- This change occurred after the original child custody order went into place
- The custody modification would serve the child’s best interests
Modifying a child custody order is possible if there is a valid enough reason and the court deems it necessary.
Requesting Sole Custody
Joint custody allows both parents to share custody of their child, but sole custody gives one parent complete control. If you wish to have full physical and legal custody of your child, you could ask the court for sole custody.
While you can ask for sole custody, it’s never guaranteed. The court needs to examine many details when determining what would be best for the child. If there is no reason to keep the other parent away from their child, and the judge believes joint custody would be more beneficial, sole custody will be denied.
Still, if you believe it would be best for your child’s life and future if you had sole custody, you can petition the court.
Rely on a Skilled Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you’re dealing with a difficult co-parent. An experienced child custody lawyer can help you seek the most favorable outcome.
The child custody lawyers at Johnson/Turner Legal know the impact a custody order can have. Therefore, we aim to do everything in our power to pursue an arrangement that is best for everyone involved, but especially for the child. Count on us to provide the kindness and compassion you need while advocating for your rights.
If you need assistance with your child custody situation, contact us today to book a quick guidance call with one of our child custody lawyers or call us directly at (320) 299-4243.