What is Gatekeeping in Terms of Child Custody and Parenting Time In San Diego

What is Gatekeeping in Terms of Child Custody and Parenting Time in San Diego?

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

What is gatekeeping in terms of child custody and parenting time in San Diego?  Are you having trouble seeing your own child(ren) during or after a divorce in San Diego?  Are you concerned about the intent of your former spouse and how it may damage your relationship with the child(ren)?

“Gatekeeping” is basically the attempt of one parent to deny access to the child’s other parent.  Gatekeeping has been the subject of substantial research and case law here in California.  It has also come to include the “attitudes, behaviors and actions” of either parent which affect the other co-parent’s participation in a child’s life and/or the negatively impacts the relationship between a child and the other co-parent.

How does the Court interpret gatekeeping in terms of child custody and parenting time in San Diego?  Generally speaking, there are many negative behaviors which the Family Court would consider to be a form of gatekeeping including but not limiting to:

  • Refusing to be in contact with the other parent or discuss relevant issues regarding the child
  • Making it hard for a child to contact the other parent in any way (phone, text, face time, skype, email, physical contact)
  • Withholding information about activities or events and associated scheduling in the child’s life
  • Speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child
  • Disrupting scheduled parenting time between the child and other co-parent for any reason or purposefully scheduling activities with the child during the other co-parent’s scheduled parenting time

Gatekeeping in terms of child custody and parenting time is often associated with parental alienation.  Parental alienation is the deliberate attempt to damage the relationship between a child and the other co-parent.

Here in San Diego, our Family Courts are focused on the best interests of the child.  California family law has generally established it is best for a child to spend equal quality time with each parent whenever possible.  Anything which damages the relationship between a child and one of their parents will almost always be considered by the Court to be an act against the best interests of the child.

A parent with a “reasonable concern” may have just cause to protect the child from genuine dangerous behavior of a co-parent such as alcohol or drug abuse, physically or emotionally abusive behavior, domestic violence or neglect.  However, these concerns should be placed before the Court and supported by factual and substantive evidence.

Protecting a child in one specific circumstance does not raise concerns regarding gatekeeping in terms of child custody and parenting time in San Diego.  However, a consistent pattern of gatekeeping behavior can be used to document harm to a child and could cost the gatekeeping parent in terms of their own custody and parenting time.

Are you concerned about the gatekeeping behaviors of your former spouse or co-parent?  Protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.