Once the dust settles in your divorce and the dissolution of your marriage finalizes, you can take some comfort that the worst of it is probably over. Many divorcing spouses feel a sense of great relief when a judge makes it official, only to find that the relief is short-lived because their ex continues to undermine or obstruct custody time with their children.
Courts take parenting time interference seriously, as should all divorcing parents. If you receive a custody order as a part of your divorce, then you should pay careful attention to its terms to make sure that you do not violate them and leave yourself vulnerable to action by the courts.
Should your child’s other parent interfere with your custody or visitation time, or get in the way of you communicating and building a relationship with your child, then you may need to petition the courts to put a stop to this behavior and use the strength of the law to protect your rights.
Direct parenting time interference
All parents deal with divorce and their frustrations with each other differently, and some of these coping behaviors are simply unacceptable. While some bad behavior is expected, any time that a parent physically prevents another parent from spending court ordered time with their child, this may constitute direct parenting time interference.
For many parents, getting used to sharing custody is upsetting, and they may act out by always being late to drop off the kids or may constantly change custody days at the last minute. While this behavior is sometimes more irresponsible than malicious, it still violates the rights of the other parent to spend court ordered time with their child.
Some instances are more extreme and concerning, such as a parent who refuses to return a child at all or takes a child and leaves the state or the country. Depending on the circumstances, this behavior may justify criminal charges.
Indirect parenting time interference
Even if another parent does not physically prevent you from spending time with your child, he or she may undermine your relationship with the child or obstruct your communication with them. This is truly the more common type of interference, usually by parents who think that they can get away with this behavior and use it to punish the other party.
You may have grounds to petition a judge for help if your child’s other parent refuses to allow you to speak with the child on the phone, or speaks poorly of you in the child’s presence. Any behavior that undermines you as a parent and seeks to manipulate your relationship may qualify as indirect interference.
Your rights deserve protecting, just like your relationship with the child you love.