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Lakeland Family & Divorce Attorney / Blog / Family Law / Is your ex-spouse gatekeeping?

Is your ex-spouse gatekeeping?

Spouses get divorced for a myriad of reasons, and parenting spouses get divorced for even more reasons. Sometimes, there may even still be love, but they just cannot agree on parenting, and that fracture breaks the Lakeland, Florida, marriage. It is these unique parental divorces that can see issues of gatekeeping.


Gatekeeping may have positive connotations of protection, but parental gatekeeping is generally negative. It occurs when one parent controls access to the child at the expense of the other parent. Often call maternal gatekeeping as it is commonly associated with mothers, it is not exclusively a maternal issue. Indeed, gatekeeping is an issue experienced by both mothers and fathers.

Gatekeeping experiences

For those who are still married or who do not have a child custody order in place, your access to your child is completely restricted by the gatekeeper. This could be limiting your access to your child entirely or to various degrees. The point is, if you want access to your child, it is strictly monitored and controlled by the parental gatekeeper.

Does it matter?

Yes! It matters for two primary reasons. First, for the parent-child relationship, gatekeeping can destroy that bond or stop it from ever forming. And, second, even if there is not a Lakeland, Florida, child custody order in place, a complete bar to seeing your child is rarely legal.

Even if there is a child custody order, for a parental gatekeeper, they will still likely try to retain some kind of control. This will usually be in the form of building a narrative around you through speaking ill of you, and controlling access to as much information as possible. This means that when your child has major life events or there are decisions to be made, if they are first to know, they do not let you know. Instead, they make those decisions unilaterally.

What can I do?

If you do not already have a child custody order in place, you need one. Contact your Lakeland, Florida, attorney, explain the situation and they can take it from there. And, if you already have a child custody order, and you find that the gatekeeping continues, let your attorney know too because what they are doing is probably not allowable either.

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