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What are your options when your ex won't let you see the kids?

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Ending a marriage is difficult, even if you know that you and your spouse no longer work well together as a couple. After all, a divorce impacts everything from your retirement fund and your overall assets to your ability to spend time with your children. For many parents, fears about child custody and visitation rights are a major concern when considering a divorce.

Many times, couples find a way to balance the responsibilities of parenting with the emotions of ending a marriage. Over time, they can develop a healthy co-parenting relationship and work together for the sake of the children. Sometimes, however, one parent simply can't let go of the negative feelings from a marriage. Instead, they can continue to seek ways to hurt the other even after the divorce.

All too often, the children become a pawn in that kind of agenda. When that happens, you may have to stand up for your parenting rights and the well-being of your children.

Child custody and visitation terms come from a court order

When you divorce, the courts consider your situation and the best interests of the children carefully. The judge in your case will take great pains to do what will benefit the children. In Maryland, the best interests of the children always guide these decisions. Usually, that means establishing a role for both parents to ensure positive, ongoing relationships.

Sometimes, one spouse refuses to comply. He or she may deny visitation to the other parent or even refuse to allow for an exchange of custody at the predetermined time. While the occasional cancellation due to sickness or scheduling conflict is reasonable, routinely denying you time with your children is not acceptable. Refusing to allow the other parent to spend time with the children may be a direct violation of the court order establishing parenting rights and responsibilities.

Maryland will help you enforce your custody agreement

Sometimes, simply discussing the visitation or custody issues is enough to correct the situation. Your ex may realize that this behavior could impact the children and is a violation of a court order. If you have tried to talk with the other parent to no avail, you may have to take legal steps to enforce your rights.

Perhaps the other parent simply refuses to return the children or release them into your custody. In some cases, the courts may consider that behavior child abduction, which could result in misdemeanor charges. If the other parent takes the child across state lines, the offense could turn into a felony. You may also have to ask the courts to step in and enforce the child custody order.

If your ex refuses to comply, seeking a modification may be a good idea. The courts could allocate more time to you if there is evidence that the other parent wants to sever or interfere with your relationship with the children.

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