When you finalize the divorce with your child’s parent, your custody order outlines the parenting privileges each of you enjoy and the time that you legally have custody or visitation rights with the child you love. In an ideal world, parents would all respect the custody order and obey it faithfully, but this is not always what happens.
In fact, it is fairly common for one parent to violate the order and the other parent’s rights along with it. If your child’s other parent has repeatedly violated your rights, or violates your rights in an extreme way, it may be time for the court to step in and enforce your order. Protecting your parenting time and privileges is important, because you can’t get lost time with your child back once it passes.
Protecting your physical time
It is perfectly normal for parents to both feel the pain of missing out on time with their child, but some parents take unacceptable actions to spend more than their fair share of time with their child. Any time that your spouse keeps you from spending all of your court-ordered time with your child, they potentially commit direct parenting time interference.
Of course, it is wise to evaluate each instance of interference objectively. Your child’s other parent may experience circumstances beyond their control, and this does not typically count as interference in the eyes of the court. For instance, a court is not likely to punish a parent because they got stuck in traffic on the way to exchange custody.
Whenever you do suspect direct interference, document it carefully in writing, so that you do not forget the specifics. Clear documentation helps you establish patterns of behavior that can help build a strong legal case if you need to get a family court involved.
Protecting your parent-child relationship
One parent can commit interference without preventing the other parent from enjoying all their custody or visitation time. Indirect parenting time interference includes behavior that obstructs communication between a parent and their child, or undermines the other’s parent-child relationship.
Speaking negatively about the other parent in the child’s presence, refusing to let the child speak to the other parent on the phone, or asking the child to spy on the other parent during their custody time are all examples of indirect interference.
You and your child’s other parent may not see eye to eye, but it is still important to respect each other’s rights. If you believe that your child’s other parent does not respect your rights, you may need to take legal action. Do not take any interfering behavior lightly. Make sure that you use strong legal resources and guidance to keep your rights secure, so that you can enjoy all the time that you deserve with the child you love.