Can my spouse separated and divorcing keep my children away from me non abusive or violent setting until the court date?

I am unable to find any information for spouses who are Separated and Divorcing. Specifically when a spouse takes the children out of the home non abusive or violent setting, what rights and/or avenues are available to the other spouse to have access to their children prior to the court dates? She and I are both petitioning to be the custodial parent and she feels that by preventing me access, the court will default to her as she will have had them throughout the divorce process.

Asked on May 24, 2016 under Family Law, Ohio


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The court does not look at who snatched and kept the kids when making a child custody determination.  The court looks at multiple factors to decide how the possession schedule should work.  Factors the court will and can consider include:  (1) who tended to the primary needs of the children prior to the split, (2) any alleged mental health issues by either parent, (3) the parenting abilities of each parent, (4) any specialized needs of the children.  These are just some of the factors the court will consider.  The court will rarely 'default' an otherwise good parent.  The court will not, however, be happy with bad co-parenting.  If one parent cuts off all acces to an otherwise good parent 'just because they can,' then that parent runs the risk of being accused of parental alienation.... a concept that basically stands for the idea that the one parent is using the children to hurt the other parent by denying access. 
You need to get into court asap, ask the court to impose some basic ground rules... and emphasize the need for these rules on the basis of the gaming that has already occurred.

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