After parents divorce, it is often difficult for them to adjust to sharing parenting responsibilities and privileges fairly, even after the court approves their custody order. While it is normal to feel the strain of co-parenting, some parents behave in ways that are simply incompatible with modern parenting plans.
If your child’s other parent interferes with your court-ordered time with your child, this behavior may qualify as parenting time interference. Courts take parenting and custody plans seriously, because they lay out the specific rights of each parent, and each right deserves protection. Parents who habitually or severely violate these agreements may suffer significant consequences.
In some instances, this may mean behavior that keeps you from enjoying all the custody and visitation time that your custody order outlines.
In other instances, one parent may prevent the other from communicating with their child or may undermine the other parent’s authority or their parent/child relationship. Not all forms of parenting time interference are equally destructive, but interference that violates your rights is not something you should tolerate.
Interference that steals away your parenting time
As a parent, you understand that the time you get to spend with your child is vitally precious. Once the time is gone, you cannot get it back, even when you receive make-up custody or visitation days for the time you missed.
As you and your child’s other parent adjust to co-parenting, you will probably run into circumstances where it is not practical to follow your custody order to the letter. Transportation difficulties, medical emergencies and other complications may arise from time to time, and some gracious flexibility may be what these situations require. However, if one parent repeatedly violates a custody order or does not appear to take the custody schedule seriously, then it is important to establish clear boundaries and defend them.
Should one parent continue to violate the other’s rights to time with their child, courts may punish them with loss of parenting privileges, mandatory replacement time for missed custody and potentially even criminal charges. Courts takes parenting time interference seriously, and you should as well.
Interference that undermines another parent’s authority
Parents may interfere with each other’s rights in a number of ways, even if they obey their custody order fully. If, for example, one parent refuses to allow the other parent to communicate with their child over the phone or through other communication platforms, this may qualify as indirect interference.
Similarly, if a parent asks their child to spy on the other parent or if they speak negatively about the other parent in the child’s presence, this also typically qualifies as interference. Do not allow this behavior to continue if you see it occurring in your own circumstances. Establishing and defending your boundaries not only protects your rights as a parent, it protects your child as well.
A strong legal strategy is important as you navigate the co-parenting process. As you build your strategy, use strong legal resources and quality guidance to ensure that you have the tools to protect your rights and keep your relationship with your child strong during this difficult season.