If you and your child’s other parent face difficulty sharing custody, you are far from the first parents to experience this struggle. Even healthy, caring individuals who want to work together to create a good life for the child they both love find the process of sharing a child very difficult.
Unfortunately, parents who are not so healthy and understanding may attempt to interfere with each other’s time with the child, which is a potentially serious offense in the eyes of the court. Parenting time interference may occur any time that one parent obstructs or attempts to manipulate the other’s time and relationship with the child. For some parents, this is just the byproduct of poor time management rather than a malicious act, but the underlying reasons are less important to the court than the effects of the behavior.
If you suspect that you child’s other parent interfered with your parenting time, you may have grounds to take legal action to protect your rights. An experienced attorney can help you assess your circumstances and identify strong legal strategies you can use to protect your rights and the best interests of your child.
When one parent physically stops the other from spending his or her court-ordered time with the child, this may count as direct parenting time interference. Sometimes, direct interference is as simple as one parent continually failing to meet the other to exchange the child. Even if this is not malicious, it cuts into the other parent’s time, which is important to protect.
Extreme direct interference may include a parent who relocates with the child or refuses to bring the child to see an incarcerated parent.
Indirect interference may occur in many more circumstances than direct interference. Indirect interference includes behavior where one parent manipulates the other’s relationship with the child or ability to communicate with the child.
If, for instance, one parent receives a letter intended for the child from the other parent, and refuses to give it to the child, this may qualify as indirect interference. A parent may also speak poorly of the other parent in front of the child or ask the child to spy on the other parent’s behavior.
Courts do not approve of this type of behavior and may order an offending parent to make restitution any number of ways. Mild offenses may only incur light penalties like making up visitation days or loss of some parental privileges. More extreme violations may even incur jail time.
Parents who believe they suffer from parenting time interference can consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand their rights in the matter and protect themselves with the strength of the law.