Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

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Could gatekeeping violate Massachusetts child custody agreements?

When Massachusetts parents gain primary custody of their children after divorce, they may feel joyous with the outcome, especially if the other parent was abusive or otherwise harmful toward the children. In such child custody cases, some parents may feel that they need to do whatever is necessary to keep the other parent away. Unfortunately, some parties may also use this gatekeeping tactic as a way to punish noncustodial parents who may not be bad for their children.

Parental gatekeeping can mean that a parent refuses to allow children to visit the other parent. This type of situation can be harmful to the children involved as they are unable to form an emotional bond with that other parent. Spending time with children is the basis of forming a healthy relationship, and if a parent with primary custody does not allow the noncustodial parent to see the children, the children may be detrimentally affected.

Some parties may believe that this form of parenting and the detrimental effects it can cause could potentially be considered abusive. However, there are not currently specific laws regarding this gatekeeping tactic. As a result, some parents may keep children away from the other parent, and the other parent may have little help in remedying the situation.

Parents will often do what they feel is necessary to keep their children safe. However, there are lines regarding child custody that could cause issues if they are crossed, especially if they violate child custody agreements. Therefore, Massachusetts parents who believe that their custody agreements are not being carried out as they should be may wish to find out more about their situation and what steps they may be able to take in order to seek modifications or enforcement of their arrangements.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Are Child Custody Laws That Treat Parental Gatekeeping Like Child Abuse Long Overdue?", B. Robert Farzad, Aug. 12, 2014

Source: The Huffington Post, "Are Child Custody Laws That Treat Parental Gatekeeping Like Child Abuse Long Overdue?", B. Robert Farzad, Aug. 12, 2014

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