It’s a complicated question: why would any parent hide his children away from their mother in order to score points during or after a divorce? There is no single answer. Our experience shows that, to whatever extent there can be an explanation for such heartless action, most cases fall into one of four patterns:

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Sometimes a restrictive and cruel parental gatekeeper simply falls in line with his own childhood experience, doing what he knew best. If someone grows up with bitterly divorced parents where one parent served as the primary caretaker—and a reckless and malicious gatekeeper at that—this kind of background can certainly contribute to his own parenting style.

Seeking Angry Revenge

Infidelity, physical abuse, emotional trauma, psychological torment, narcissism, or just growing apart… Any of the aforementioned abuses (real or perceived) can serve to ignite bitter and resentful anger and outright hostility towards one’s ex-spouse. Indeed, revenge can fuel a parent’s restrictive gatekeeping, as the parent wants to punish the other parent by keeping the children away.

Using the Kids as Leverage

Every day in family court, children are used by parents and lawyers as leverage in the hopes of securing favored non-custody related issues in divorce settlements. Restrictive parental gatekeeping can be an attempt to manipulate the family law system—and the other parent’s emotions—to “win” other issues. Using one’s children as pawns in this way is particularly cruel and shameful.

Blatant Disregard for a Parent’s Role and Rights

Some parents act like it’s their way or the highway. They do not respect the opinions of others—certainly not the role of the other parent in their children’s lives. Often, resentment is behind the lack of respect, and anger guides them to disregard the importance of both parents having an active part to play in a child’s life.

Finding a Solution for Your Child Custody Case

We have seen firsthand how restrictive parental gatekeeping can thwart the best interests of one’s children in a child custody case. The child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan can help you sort through and solve against nasty gatekeeping tactics and whatever else your ex-husband may be throwing at you. We are dedicated to helping families find a child custody solution that works. To schedule an appointment, call us at 415-341-1144.

Paul Nathan
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Marin County California Divorce Lawyer Representing Women Exclusively
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