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Maternal gatekeeping is a real problem

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Custody

Maternal gatekeeping may sound like a mother blocking the entrance to a theme park, but the reality is much darker. Maternal gatekeeping can destroy the father-child bond.

What is it?

Maternal gatekeeping refers to situations where the mother of the child controls access to the child. This includes outside parties, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even, the father. This can occur in married, unmarried and divorced couples. It can even happen in happy marriages.

What does it look like?

In its basic form, it looks like a lack of access. In other words, the child is simply inaccessible to the father and other family members, which destroys any chance for a father-child bond to form. Or, if one had begun to form, it can fade over time.

Even in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, co-parenting situations, maternal gatekeeping can still occur. It just looks different. In co-parenting situations, the mother may paint a narrative of the father with the child to attempt to get them to emotionally disconnect from the father or to not want to spend time with them on their own. This is known as parental alienation.

They can also control access to information related to the child’s health, schooling and athletic, religious, social life, etc. At first blush, this may not seem extreme, but imagine not being there for your child for their first break up, their first communion, their first day of school, etc. Without knowing about these milestones, you miss out.

Is it legal?

The legality of maternal gatekeeping really depends on who is being kept out, the extent they are being kept out and whether there is a child custody order. If you believe that your wife or ex-wife is restricting access to your child or withholding information, tell your Lancaster, Pennsylvania, attorney. In extreme cases, it can be used as a basis for a child custody modification, but even in mild cases, it may warrant a court order to expressly state your rights in the co-parenting relationship.