After parents divorce, they usually share custody or visitation rights in some form or another. This may mean that both parents enjoy nearly equal time with their child in their respective homes. Alternatively, it may mean that one parent enjoys the bulk of the time with the child and the other has rights to spend time with him or her at designated times and places.
Whatever your own custody arrangement may be, the time you spend with your child is precious. As such, that time deserves strong protections from any behaviors that threaten it, especially if that threat comes from your child’s other parent. As frustrating as it is, parental time interference is very common and can play out in various ways.
You should not take interference from your child’s other parent lightly, just as the courts do not take it lightly. In fact, if you present compelling evidence of interference by the other parent to the court, it may respond with a range of consequences. Some might include relatively minor changes in custody privileges to the revocation of privileges and even criminal charges. Protect your rights and the best interests of your child with swift, direct action that treats this behavior with the seriousness it deserves.
Whenever one parent behaves in a way that keeps the other parent from physically spending his or her court-ordered time with their child, it may constitute direct parenting time interference.
Sometimes, this seems reasonable at first. The other parent may need you to change your custody days so that he or she can keep an appointment, or may simply show up late to transfer the child. Surely, all of us face unanticipated difficulties from time to time, and no parent can avoid complications forever. However, if you notice a pattern of behavior that minimizes your time with your child, it is worth pushing back against that behavior and fighting for the time that you deserve with the child you love.
Extreme direct interference may mean that the other parent takes the child without your permission or knowledge to another city or state or even a foreign country. Depending on the circumstances, this parent may even face very serious felony kidnapping charges.
Indirect interference is much more common, and can also be more difficult to identify. It may occur any time that one parent keeps the other from communicating or building a relationship with the child. Often, this is very annoying, petty behavior, like refusing to let the other parent speak with the child on the phone or throwing away one parent’s gifts instead of giving the gifts to the child as intended.
Indirect interference also includes the way parents speak about each other in the child’s presence. Courts consider talking poorly about the other parent in the presence of the child to be indirect interference, and may punish parents accordingly.
It is not always easy to work with you child’s other parent to create a good life for the child that you love. If you find that you need the strength of the law, do not hesitate to use the legal tools available to protect your rights and the best interests of your child.