Your time with your child is one of the most precious things that you have and something that you must protect. Parents who do not make a priority to protect their rights to time with their children may find that the other parent slowly erodes these rights or refuses to respect them.
The court generally requires parents who divorce to create a parenting plan and reach a custody arrangement that respects the rights of each parent while keeping the best interests of the child the primary concern. If one parent refuses to act in line with the custody arrangement, this may constitute parenting time interference, which can result in penalties or even criminal charges.
Direct interference with parenting time
When one parent acts in a way that deprives the other parent of spending physical time with the child, this is direct interference. Lost parenting time is a precious resource that you should not take lightly, just as the courts do not take it lightly.
In some cases, the other parent is not acting maliciously but is dealing with other hardships that make it more difficult to follow the custody arrangement. Such a parent might show up late to drop off children repeatedly, or may cancel visitation or custody days because of conflicts in his or her own schedule.
We all experience unexpected setbacks from time to time, and few parents abide by a custody agreement perfectly, so it is important to gather compelling evidence of ongoing interference rather than a single instance unless an individual situation is quite severe or intentional.
An extreme example, but one that sadly occurs far too often, is parental kidnapping. This might happen if one parent takes the child and leaves the state or region without the other's consent or knowledge. This may result in severe criminal charges.
Indirect interference with parenting time
Indirect interference does not prevent a parent from spending physical time with the child, as direct interference does, but undermines or manipulates the parent's communication and relationship-building. This may include:
- Refusing to allow a child to speak on the phone with a parent
- Refusing to allow a child to video-chat with a parent
- Refusing to give a child gifts from a parent
- Asking the child to spy on a parent and report back
- Speaking poorly of a parent in the presence of the child
Courts understand that parents are capable of destructive behavior when it comes to children. If one parent acts in a way that indirectly interferes with the other parent's relationship, he or she may face a loss of parenting privileges and other penalties. This behavior may also play a role if one parent or the other petitions the court to modify a custody agreement that does not function properly.
When it comes to your own parenting time, you must take action to protect it. Otherwise, your child's other parent may keep pushing your boundaries to see what he or she can get away with without consequences. Protect your rights and privileges as a parent with a robust legal strategy that keeps your future and the future of your child secure.