Children deserve a healthy relationship with both of their parents. Of course you have a right to see your children, but custody and visitation are less about parental rights than they are about the rights of your kids.
Using children as pawns in parental power struggles is one of the greatest immoral acts, I believe. Fortunately, it is being aggressively combated in courtrooms across the country. Research is now showing the huge detrimental impact on children when adults use them to satisfy selfish agendas.
When parents are divorcing or determining custody and visitation arrangements one of them will often try to turn the child against the other parent by making derogatory comments about the other to or in the presence of the child, or by being inflexible regarding unforeseen visitation opportunities, or even just constant bickering. Courts and psychologists refer to this as “parental alienation.” It is extremely armful to your child and can be detected in psychological testing. Whether or not you get along with your child's other parent or other relatives, you have a duty to foster a positive relationship between your child and the other parent and relatives.
Other examples of parental alienation: Mom has primary physical custody and remarries, telling the child to call her new husband “daddy.” Never put a child in this position; it is unfair to kids and, yes, harmful. And judges in Northern Virginia will not tolerate it. Or, dad gives junior his own cell phone just for calling him. The implied message to junior is mom cannot be trusted to allow such contact, and is thus some sort of threat to the father-child relationship. Kids are not stupid; junior will see through you if you try this stunt, and so will a judge. Or, mom won’t inform dad of their daughter’s dance recitals, in an attempt to make dad appear disinterested and uninvolved. Or, dad tells his little princess to ask mom if it’s okay for them to go to Disney World next week. The gambit here, of course, is to make dad look like Mr. Wonderful or mom look like the Grinch. Never make your child a messenger for anything.
Parents can be quite cunning in an infinite number of ways to sabotage each other in the eyes of their children. If you need help in alienating your child from the other parent, stop reading this website now and call another lawyer. I’ll have none of it.