My Spouse Won’t Let Me See My Children

Many times after parties separate, one of the parties withholds the children from the other spouse.  Sometimes for good reason.  But, if you are the parent not getting to spend time with your children this can be extremely frustrating.  But what can you do?

There is No Court Order in Place

If you and your spouse have just separated and neither of you have petitioned the family court for custody, then there is no court order in place governing the custody and visitation of your children.  In this case, if your spouse will not agree to allow you time with your children your main option in this case is to file an action in the family court with part of the relief you are seeking being the visitation or custody of your children.  At the time your action is filed, a Motion for Temporary Relief can also be filed where you can have a Temporary Hearing within a few weeks to have an order put in place for the pendency of your legal action.

There is an Order and My Spouse Ignores It

When there is already an order in place (whether it is a temporary or final order) either spouse can enforce the provisions of the order against the other spouse by what is known as a Contempt action.  If either of you are found to be in willful violation of the Family Court’s order you could be punished by being held in contempt of court which holds penalties of up to one year in jail, community service and/or fines by the Court.  This is the “teeth” of the order and most people are not willing to chance jail time just because they do not want their spouse or ex-spouse to have time with the children.


  1. In Jefferson Parish (Louisiana have Parishes not Counties – it’s a French thing), families are required to go to a parenting class. It seems to work pretty well (although nothing will get rid of parties trying to hurt one another). Do you have anything like that in SC?

  2. savanna n. says:

    I have a parenting plan & i share joint custody with my x husband he had primary custody he does not abide to the parenting plan at all he finds one reason or another to keep my girls from me they are 5 & 3 i do not have them because i did not have the money to hire a lawyer for a divorce & when he came to pick them up for his visit he filed a restraining order against me so i could not come & get them back we are divorced & we have a parenting plan but he does not follow it he plays god with my children & will not let see them can you help me please

  3. My situation is a little different. I have a 11 and 14 year old girls who live with their father. He has had custody of them for a little over 3 years now. When we went to court there was no visitation set up because he told the judge we could handle that our selves. But it has been the opposite. He will not let me see or even speak to my girls on the phone. My oldest will go to school and text me off another little girls cell phone. I cant afford an attorney to get visitation set up. I dont no what to do. It hurts us all that we cant see each other. I also have 2 more children from another relationship that miss their sisters so much..Please someone tell me what i can do..I am lost and confused. My oldest is always texting from another little girls phone begging me to do something. Please help us!!!

  4. Jamaal Lyles says:

    I am sorry but the law does say one thing but in South Carolina they do another thing. I think that some of your guardian ad litem should be fired. Yes they are attorneys but how many have graduate level psychology training. The reason why I ask is that I am in graduate level psychology and a first year law student. I have seen a case first hand and it bothers me. The courts have clearly done somethings that are wrong and biased. What should our next step be?

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  6. Am mot married but have a child we have been living apart for 3 minths no custody order and she wont let me see my son .he is 15 months what do i do

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