When people with children are facing divorce, they are often confused and afraid about what will ultimately happen with custody of their children. Both parents love their children exceedingly, and with the marriage and future dreams crumbling, both parents understandably want to exit the marriage with their children.
Some people have heard that judges award custody to the parent who physically has the children the most. They reason, that in turn, if they do not let their soon-to-be-ex see or take the children, they can cement themselves as the de facto custodial parent, and win custody.
In most situations, when they eventually get into the courtroom, the withholding parent is in for a rude awakening. While judges do consider who has taken primary care of the children, that factor is not to the exclusion of other factors. Judges put a lot of weight on which parent will facilitate a strong and positive relationship with the other parent. And when a parent withholds the children, that parent is telling the judge that he or she will not foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.
I have had cases where one parent comes to me frantic and upset because their spouse took the kids and hasn't let them see the kids for weeks. I have responded to my client that the withholding parent is actually greatly helping my client's case for custody. And many times when we get to court, even though it can take a month or two depending on the situation, oftentimes, my client will leave the courthouse with primary custody. And the withholding parent walks out obviously in shock and full of regret.