Sheila Vierra, Attorney at Law, LLLC
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You can fight back when your ex denies parenting time in Hawaii

One of the worst things about a divorce is how it impacts your relationship with your children. If your ex surprised you by filing for divorce, he or she may have received temporary custody of the children during the proceedings. Generally speaking, the courts will also include visitation for the other parent in a temporary custody order, as well as a requirement to pay child support.

As emotions rise and tempers flare, some parents may choose to use the children as a weapon or bargaining chip against their spouse. That could mean shortening your visitation, canceling it or simply refusing to exchange custody with you at all. Getting denied time with your children is heartbreaking, but, thankfully, you have the right to assert your parenting rights during and after a divorce in Hawaii.

Refusing visitation or parenting time violates the court order

Court orders are legally binding, including orders related to child custody in a divorce. So long as the temporary custody order allocated parenting time or visitation to you, your ex must comply or be in contempt of court. Of course, knowing that offers little comfort if you can't see your children.

While you may feel tempted to refuse to pay child support or confront your ex, doing either of these things could jeopardize your case for custody and visitation during the divorce. Consider reaching out in writing via email, which provides a record of the communication, calmly asserting your right to spend time with the children. If your ex still refuses, the email can help demonstrate your attempts to uphold your parental responsibilities.

You should also document each and every violation of your visitation or parenting time schedule. That can help show the courts a pattern of behavior from your ex that puts personal needs ahead of the best interests of the children. Most of the time, the courts uphold the idea that ongoing relationships with both parents are what's best for children in a divorce. When it's time to finalize custody terms, that attempt to alienate you could impact the court's decision.

Don't let your emotions get the best of you

It's possible that this whole situation is an attempt by your ex to make you appear aggressive, threatening or otherwise unstable. Sending threatening messages or badmouthing your ex to your children, online or to the courts could actually hurt your case for custody.

Instead of succumbing to your frustration, try to focus on the future and the needs of your children. The courts will see your attempts to maintain the relationship, as well as your ex's attempts to destabilize it. A pattern of habitual alienation of the children could hurt your ex's claim to custody in the long run.

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