For most parents who divorce, transitioning into a new season of life and sharing custody of their child is not at all easy. Not only is this process emotionally draining, it is often difficult to sort out the logistics of sharing parenting duties and privileges while not living in the same space.
To some degree, difficulty making this transition is normal. However, some parents take advantage of the process or simply do not take the custody arrangement seriously, costing the other parent time with the child. This may qualify as direct or indirect parenting time interference, depending on the specifics of each circumstance.
If you believe that your child’s other parent interferes with your parenting time, then you may need to use the strength of the law to enforce your rights. While some such conflicts resolve easily by confronting them and sorting them out diplomatically with your child’s other parent, in other instances, it is necessary to get the courts involved to protect your rights and your child’s best interests.
Direct parenting time interference
If one parent acts in a way that deprives the other parent of time with the child that he or she rightfully deserves according to a court order, this constitutes direct parenting time interference. This may include relatively small violations like canceling visitation days or failing to show up on time to transfer the child, or may take a more serious form, such as taking the child and leaving the state or country without the other parent’s knowledge or consent.
Each of these is physically keep one parent from spending time with the child, which is a substantial issue in the eyes of the court.
Indirect parenting time interference
More commonly, one parent may act in a way that undermines the other parent’s relationship with the child or complicates communication between the other parent and the child. This generally qualifies as indirect parenting time interference.
While both parents may still enjoy their custody time with the child, indirect interference may include:
- Speaking poorly of the other parent in the presence of the child
- Instructing the child to spy on the other parent and report back
- Refusing to allow the other parent to speak on the phone with the child or communicate in other ways
- Refusing to give the child letters or gifts from the other parent
- Accusing the other parent falsely of bad behavior in the presence of the child
If your child’s other parent uses these tactics, you may have legal action you can take to put and end to it. Carefully consider the behavior of the other parent and be sure to use all the legal resources you have to protect your child and the time that you have together, as well as your rights as a parent.