I am sad to say how common I have already found this problem to be. I am not talking about an occasional missed visit, or showing up late, missed phone calls, or even missing an entire summer visit. I am talking about absolute, complete denial of visitation. Nothing. And this does not just apply to fathers, it happens with mothers too. It is a roller coaster of emotions, lost time, and torn relationships.
There are many reasons why something like this happens. Perhaps no one ever initially went to court because they didn't have the money, they lacked the knowledge of how, or they tried and didn't have legal counsel that adequately helped. Perhaps there was a court order and the custodial parent is just refusing to abide by it. Perhaps the non-custodial parent has gotten lost in back child support and the custodial parent is threatening them as a result. Perhaps there was a domestic violence situation and the abuser took the children and the other parent is terrified of what will happen to them and to the children if they fight. There are hundreds of reasons why.
For parents that have child visitation denied (as with any parent), time is of the essence. Time is precious. For many reasons. If a child does not have access to a parent until they are a teenager, building a relationship that has not existed for years (or perhaps ever) may never be possible. Even losing out on six months with a young child can completely alter the relationship. There are lost birthdays, holidays, "first" moments...lost memories that can never be replaced and create a constant state of mourning and pain.
This type of situation can seem like the highest mountain peak glaring down on the parent who has been denied access to the child; a constant shadow that refuses to move to give the smallest glimpse of sunlight. For a parent contemplating separating from another, it is their worst nightmare scenario of what might happen if they go through with the separation or divorce.
Light does exist. I fully believe that it exists in the judicial process. But in order to see this light, those parents who are standing in the mountain's shadow must step forward. I am not here to say this type of scenario isn't a battle, and I'm not here to say it can always be won. It is a fight. It can be a long, hard, expensive battle, and even if won temporarily, it may continue to be a battle until the child is an adult. But there is light to see if the parent is brave enough to take that step out of the shadow.
For readers struggling in this situation, contact me. My information is in the "Contact" section of my website. As I always tell everyone, I cannot make promises. I am not a magician and I cannot always fix everything. But these are cases I care about. These are cases that make me remember why the justice system is important. These are cases that remind me why I am a lawyer.