Can a Mother Keep the Child Away From the Father in California?

Can a Mother Keep the Child Away From the Father in California?

Parenting is difficult no matter what your situation is. However, when you are co-parenting or sharing custody of your children, the process can be even more difficult. Many people have different opinions about how to raise children, even people who have had children together or who share responsibility over a child.

In some situations, one parent attempts to keep another parent away from their children. This is a complicated situation, as there are many unique factors that come into play. In some situations, keeping a child away from their other parent is legal, while in other scenarios, it is not.

If you are co-parenting a child or have a complicated relationship with your child’s other parent, it is important that you understand your legal obligations and adhere to any agreements set forth by the court. Failure to do so could create significant legal trouble for you.

Custody Agreements

The main factor in a parent’s ability to keep their child away from the child’s other parent is a custody agreement. A custody agreement is legally binding, and it outlines who has the right to see or care for the child in question.

The court takes custody agreements very seriously. A judge will create and approve your custody agreement based on what is best for your child or children. You must adhere to this agreement, even if you disagree with it. If you break the terms of the custody agreement, you may face legal repercussions.

If a mother has full custody of her children, she may keep the child away from their father without question. She can dictate where her children go and who sees them.

However, if a father has visitation rights or shared custody, the mother cannot legally withhold the child when it is the father’s turn to have custody or visitation. If she does so, she is violating the custody agreement and defying court orders.

No Custody Agreement

Things get especially complicated in situations where there are no custody agreements in place. This often happens right after a divorce – before the court process has dictated the family’s custody schedule. Without a custody agreement to follow, it can be difficult to know your rights as a parent.

According to California law, confirmed parents have equal shared custody of their children until the court specifies otherwise. This means that if you are a child’s confirmed father, you have the right to see your children.


It’s important to note that you must be a confirmed father to have the right to see your child. This means that paternity must be established. This can be done in two ways:

  1. You signed the child’s birth certificate when they were born, asserting that you are the child’s father.
  2. You had a paternity test taken that revealed you are the child’s father.

Though this may seem obvious, it is easy for neither of these to occur. If you and the child’s mother are not married, paternity is not assumed. In some situations, a father does not sign the birth certificate and never gets a paternity test. This only becomes an issue in situations like these, when confirmed paternity is crucial. Even if you raised the child, you could be denied access if you have not confirmed that you are the child’s biological father.

If you did not sign your child’s birth certificate or do not have official proof that you are the child’s father, the child’s mother can legally withhold the child from you. It is important to have these documents in a secure location for situations like these.

Domestic Violence

The above situations do not apply in situations of domestic violence. If a child’s mother accuses the father of domestic violence, she may file a restraining order against the father. In these cases, the mother may withhold the child or children from their father to protect them. This is the case until the court can review the facts and evidence and determine if the father has committed domestic violence.

Being accused of domestic violence is heartbreaking. If your child’s mother is withholding your children based on domestic violence, you must get legal help. Trying to resolve the issue yourself will only exacerbate the issue and may give the child’s mother more reason to withhold the child from you.


Sometimes, parents who share custody want to take the child on vacation. If your child’s mother wishes to do this, she will need to create an arrangement with you. If they are going abroad, she will need your written consent to take the child. If you share custody and your child’s mother withholds your child by taking them on vacation or abroad without your consent, she can be charged with abduction.

Parental Rights

If you are going through a child custody case, the judge on the case and your attorney should tell you what your rights are in relation to the child. The court will outline the type of custody that you have as well as what each party can and cannot do with the child. If you are confused about what you can do, be sure to consult your attorney. Your legal counsel is responsible for making sure you understand your rights so that you can exercise them properly.

Custody and parental rights cases can get extremely complicated. This is why it is essential that you have an attorney on your side for any type of family law or child custody case. With the support of legal counsel, you can be sure that everyone is following the court’s orders.

Contact Khalaf Law Group

For many years, our team at Khalaf Law Group has been helping parents to navigate the difficult world of parenting and custody. Our expertise gives you an advantage in the courtroom, and our understanding of California law gives you peace of mind once your agreement is finalized.

To hire us for your child custody case, contact Khalaf Law Group online today or call our firm. We understand every custody issue is unique, and we approach your case with the care, compassion, and attention it deserves.

About Ted Khalaf

As you maneuver the difficult process of divorce and custody, it is essential that you are supported by a team of legal experts well versed in California specific Divorce and Family Law. For well over a decade, Khalaf Law Group have been serving clients across Southern California in all areas of Divorce and Family Law. With an exceptional track record of courtroom successes, Khalaf Law Group take great pride in providing their valued clients with the knowledge and information they require to maintain peace of mind and a positive outcome in their case.

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