Divorcing when you have children is more difficult emotionally and logistically than divorcing without kids. Not only do you have to figure out how to split custody with your ex, but you also have to face the emotional turmoil your children experience because of changing family circumstances.
Typically, parents in Minnesota can expect to share custody of their children, but not everyone accepts shared custody arrangements with grace. Some people will go to extreme lengths to try to push their ex out of the family and keep them away from the children.
Some parents will cancel parenting time, but others will actually try to hurt the relationship their ex has with the children. They may go so far as to emotionally manipulate the children so that they turn against the other parent and start refusing to spend time with them. Can your children just refuse your parenting time because they don’t want to see you?
Your involvement is likely in the children’s best interests
If your children are older and mature, their preferences can impact the initial custody order or how a family law judge updates your order during a modification hearing. However, a judge is unlikely to terminate the parenting time or visitation of one parent because the children have a strained relationship with them. They will instead likely encourage that the children and parent try to focus on repairing their damaged relationship.
Under Minnesota family law, the non-custodial parent typically has the right to at least 25% custody. That is a rebuttable presumption that can change if the other parents or the state submits evidence showing the involvement of that parent is not in the best interests of the children. Barring situations like addiction or abuse, the courts are unlikely to completely cut one parent out of the custody order, even if their children resent spending time with them.
Documenting denied and refused parenting time can help you push for enforcement of your existing order or even seek a modification that gives you more time with the children to counter the manipulation of your ex. Knowing your rights will make it easier to protect your relationship with your children in a tense shared custody scenario.