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Can the custodial parent keep a child from the non custodial parent just because he is angry the other parent is pregnant?

Holyoke, MA |

My husband & I have been married for almost a year now & are expecting our first child together. My ex has physical custody of our daughter. He just found out that Im having a baby & is very upset. He said the baby will not be my daughters siblings & she is not to have a part in our lives at all. Can he do that? Can he say she cant be a part of the new babys life?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Fortunately, your ex does not have the authority to unilaterally decide the custody arrangements for the child you share. The court that entered the decree of divorce/original custody order decides. All parties are expected to comply in good faith with the existing orders and custodial interference is punished through the court's contempt powers, that is fines and jail. Unless there is significant evidence that contact between your older child and you and your new baby is harmful to your older child, the opportunity for your older child to know her siblings and participate in the lives of you and your new family will be protected by the court. Of course, your ex might come to his senses and accept the changes, but in case he does not and further court proceedings become necessary, you should be keeping records of his behavior and communications. As much as possible use self-recording media like email and texts to save his unhealthy comments and threats. In the meantime, make every effort to be the best mother you can be to your daughter. In the event that your ex does not develop some good sense, you will need the assistance of an experiences family law attorney.

Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to select a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

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4 lawyers agree

Posted

The short answer is no. You are raising a blended family and there are many resources on line for you, including how to handle high-conflict relationships, which you appear to have with your ex-husband. If you entered into a Separation Agreement and were represented by counsel, there likely is language in the agreement that will be helpful for you, such as language indicating that he cannot alienate you from your children or paint you in a bad light. That being stated, if he is going to state such things, try to get him to do so in writing, e.g., communicate with him via email so that there is a record of the communication, as my colleague suggested. There is a great website for managing co-parenting and parallel parenting relationships, particular those that are high conflict. It costs $99.00 per year and is designed for the court system. Check out www.ourfamilywizard.com. At the end of the day, if he is acting in inappropriately, your remedy is to go back into court to prevent him from doing so. If you do, contact a lawyer in your particular jurisdiction that is familiar with the court system.

Mr. Thomas is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. This response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Often, the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply. Mr. Thomas strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney to make sure he or she gets all relevant information to make informed decisions about the subject matter.

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2 lawyers agree

Posted

Anger over a subsequent pregnancy is not an appropriate reason to deny custody to a non-custodial parent. When looking at custody arrangement the court is looking at what is in the "best interests" of the child. Depending on how the Judgment that granted your Ex physical custody is worded, could give you several options to enforce your parenting rights. You may need to file a Complaint for Modification or a Complaint for Contempt. If the relationship with you and your Ex is deteriorated to the point where the two of you cannot communicate effectively regarding your child, it may be appropriate for you to seek a change in physical custody.

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