Sometimes, a divorce is a battle from the start to finish, but the end of the divorce is the end of that battle. Other times, that battle does not end with the divorce, and this can be the case for divorced co-parents who did not end their Mount Holly, New Jersey, marriage amicably. One such battle is maternal gatekeeping in child custody arraignments.
Maternal and paternal gatekeeping
While maternal gatekeeping is the most common name for parental gatekeeping, it is a problem that crosscuts both mothers and fathers. It is called maternal and paternal gatekeeping because it is an issue of parental control, not gender or sex.
The non-gatekeeping parent knows that gatekeeping is occurring because of the amount of control exerted by the Mount Holly, New Jersey, gatekeeping parent. This can be done in three ways, which can occur individually or all at once.
First, the gatekeeping parent can repeatedly violate the child custody order. However, they do not do so by absconding with the child. Instead, they keep the child for an extra day or two, have many “family emergencies” that cause them to need to keep the child for longer or come up with other creative reasons for why they need to keep the child for longer than they should in the child custody order or parenting plan. At first, their excuses may sound reasonable, but over time, you should notice the abuse.
Second, the gatekeeper will keep information on lockdown. When they have information about the child, whether it is vital health information, major life events, sports achievements, etc., they will not tell you. Indeed, they may only bring up these things well after they occur to rub it in your face that you did not attend or did not help.
Finally, they may use your lack of attendance or help at these events as proof that you do not care about the child. They will paint you in the worst light possible in an attempt at parental alienation, which, itself is separate from gatekeeping. It can be part of several psychological abuse tactics that most courts recognize now as child abuse.
How you deal with gatekeeping should be informed by your prior experience with your spouse. If the divorce was amicable, the gatekeeping may be inadvertent, and talking with your ex-spouse may solve the problem. Family counseling could also help.
If, on the other hand, this gatekeeping comes after a contentious divorce, after the very first broken child custody arrangement, tell your Mount Holly, New Jersey, family law lawyer. While it may not be immediately actionable, your lawyer can craft a game plan to stop the gatekeeping.