Withholding a Child Without a Court Order

As family law attorneys in South Carolina, we consistently work to help clients navigate difficult legal scenarios with their children and that child’s other parent. Withholding a child without a court order could be a dangerous step to take, especially if the court sees that you are doing so as a way to punish the other parent. If you are not sure what you should do right now, call Indigo Family Law for immediate, transparent help with your child custody issue.

Can One Parent Keep a Child from the Other Parent Without Court Orders?

In most situations, a parent cannot prevent the other parent from seeing their child unless there is a court order in place that states otherwise. This often occurs when parents cannot agree on when or how a child should spend time with that child’s parents. In some situations, this could be considered parental alienation.

Withholding a child from another parent without a court order like this involves the intentional act unjustifiably and negatively limits the child’s connection with their other parent. Parental alienation occurs when this is done in a manner that ultimately aims to damage the relationship the child has with their other parent. The goal is often to turn the child against the other parent.

If you believe your child is at risk for harm, you should contact the police and our family law attorney to discuss that risk. The key here is to ensure that you are not taking actions to protect your child if there is no real threat to them present. Every situation is very different, but our goal is always to provide you with advice and guidance before you make a decision that could put your relationship with your child or your legal right to maintain child custody at risk.

If There is No Custody Order in Place, Can I Take My Child?

When there is no custody order in place, the custodial rights of the child typically go with whoever the state recognizes as the child’s legal parent. This could depend on the marital situation at the time of conception. Without any type of child custody agreement, it may be possible for you to see your child and spend time with them.

If your child has been living with the other parent for some time or does not have a significant relationship with you, simply taking them from the home can be problematic. That does not mean you cannot spend time with your child. So, what do you do?

When you meet with our child custody attorney in South Carolina, we will listen to your case and offer clear, comprehensive insight into what your legal rights are. We may advise you to seek a court order. Doing so may help to minimize any risk of seeing your actions as problematic to the court.

Who Has Custody of a Child If There Is No Court Order?

When no court order is present, the right to custody is dependent on the circumstances of the situation. Under South Carolina law, the natural mother of a child is granted sole custody of a child if she is unmarried. If you are an unmarried father, you can petition the court for custody when your paternity is legally recognized or adjudicated.

In situations where one parent has raised a child for some time, the other parent cannot simply take the child without some repercussions, especially if the move is without merit. If your child does not have a custody order in place, legal custody is considered the mother’s unless a father has, in some capacity, established their right to the child.

The complexities of this type of legal case can mean that you should seek legal guidance before you take action. If you are a father or mother of a child who may be just coming back into their life, it is critical to ensure you have the legal right to pursue custody before simply taking the child from the person who has maintained custody to that point. Remember, if you feel your child is at risk in any way, you should seek help from the police and contact our family law attorney in South Carolina for immediate help.

What Happens When a Mother Won’t Let a Father See a Child with No Custody Agreement?

If one parent does not allow the other parent to spend time with or otherwise interact with their child, you should seek immediate but appropriate child custody to ensure that the court grants that right. A parent whose contact is being prevented for any unreasonable matter should seek legal support to establish the right to custody to some degree. It is critical to take some action.

If you do not take action in a situation like this, the parent may establish the status quo. That means that the court sees the other parent as the sole custody provider. It is not likely that the court would take custody away from that party if, for example, one parent suddenly wants to be back in their child’s life.

If you are suddenly being denied access to your child, and you have had some level of interaction with them in the recent past, you should seek legal guidance. Doing so could help the court to establish custody or visitation for you. It also shines a light on the other parent who may not be treating you fairly in this process. An attorney can also assist with modifying a court order for custody.

Why Withholding Visitation with No Court Order Is Not Advisable

If the parent of your child suddenly comes back into their life or wants to simply take the child from you, it may seem like the logical decision to protect your child and not allow it to happen. Withholding visitation from the other parent when there is no court order can be problematic for you, though. If you do not have grounds for that action, it could lead to a court order filed against you.

In this situation, your first step should be to contact an attorney to discuss what your legal options are. Your family law attorney will listen to the situation and provide you with accurate but also transparent information about what you can expect to occur based on the details of your case. Your attorney will discuss what is best in your situation.

Denying a child to their other parent is often not in the child’s best interest, which is what the goal’s goal always will be. The South Carolina family court judges and laws favor a child having a relationship with both parents if it is in the child’s best interest – not the parent’s – to do so. If there is no reason you believe your child could be at risk and you do not want to allow them to be put at risk, you should seek out an attorney and, in some situations, the police.

How Your South Carolina Family Law Attorney Can Help You

These are always very difficult legal situations, but you do not have to face these decisions on your own. If there is a pending concern right now, such as a parent trying to remove a child from your home, and that is not in the best interest of the child, call the police for immediate help. Then, contact our South Carolina family law attorney.

We will help you in a number of ways, beginning with explaining the details of the law as they apply to your situation. This will give you insight into what legal strategies you can take right now to protect your child and your relationship with them. We are here to help you right away and can often offer guidance to you within a matter of days or sooner.

Our family law attorneys are trusted professionals who have years of experience working with families who struggle in these areas. We know that the decisions are difficult when your goal is to protect your child and build a good relationship with them. Let us help you do that.

Talk to Us About Your Case

The first step we can provide is listening to you describe what is occurring in your case. We work with both mothers and fathers who want to build a strong relationship with their child who may not be treated fairly by the other parent. Let us explain the law in your case and what your specific legal options are.

Petition the Court for You

Our goal is to work aggressively to protect you and your child. If you do not have custody of your child but want to establish it so you can play a role in their life, we will help you petition the court to do so. If you do have custody but believe the other parent should not be given time with the child, we can petition the court to provide that type of protection for the child.

Seek Out a Visitation Schedule

Most of the time, both parents want what is best for the child, and that often means having time with each parent. If that is what applies in your situation, our family law attorneys in South Carolina will help you create a visitation schedule that allows for the best situation in all cases. By working closely with you and the other parent, we may be able to find an amicable solution.

Seek Out Custody

In situations where you want full or sole custody of your child, whether your child lives with you now or not, it is typically best to seek legal action to establish that. Without any custody established, it can be hard to prevent the other parent from seeing or spending time with the child. Putting a custody agreement in place may be beneficial in your situation to avoid this.

Prove Paternity

In many situations, our clients are fathers who may not have been with their child for some time or may not be named on a birth certificate. In these situations, we strongly encourage you to establish paternity with the help of our family law attorney. Establishing paternity is a process, but it can be the best way to show that you deserve to have time with your child just as the mother does.

If Your Child Is at Risk, Take Action with Our Help

In any situation where you feel your child’s safety is at risk, we encourage you to contact us immediately for help. If it is an emergent situation, involve the police first. Let us then offer guidance to you on what your legal rights could be, including insight into:

  • Emergency custody orders
  • Required visitation
  • Support for therapy for you and your child
  • Guidance on altering child custody or visitation in your favor
  • Legal options that could benefit your situation

When custody is not formally in place for a minor under the age of 18, there is risk to the parents and child. In these situations, the best step you can take is to get a family law attorney who will help you navigate the legal strategies available to you, including what actions you can take right away to protect your child. Our attorneys are available to help you right away, meaning you do not have to wait to give us a call to get help in your situation.

We Can Offer Guidance to You Right Away

You need fast answers. We can help you. When you need to make a decision quickly, you need an attorney that is available.

Set Up a Consultation with Our Child Custody Attorney in South Carolina Now

Our legal team understands the frustration, pain, and trauma that can occur between families when one parent is not given access to a child they love and care about and deserve to have. Other times, that parent may be a risk to the child and should not simply be able to walk into a child’s life. Let our South Carolina child custody attorneys at Indigo Family Law provide you with comprehensive, honest, and fair information about what your rights are and what you should do right now to protect them. Call us today to schedule a consultation.