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How do you protect your parenting time after divorce?

After any major life change, it may take different people varying amounts of time to acclimate and find their footing. This is especially true for parents who divorce and must figure out how to effectively raise their child together. Of course, most divorced parents find that navigating this new stage of life is difficult in ways they did not expect, often leading to bad behavior that compromises the other parent's tie with the child.

Whether this is intentional or done out of negligence, parenting time interference is a very serious matter to the courts. In most cases, before a divorce can finalize, parents must present the court with a parenting plan that outlines how they plan to share their responsibilities and privileges of parenthood. This agreement should include detailed language against either parent obstructing or undermining the other parent's relationship with the child.

One parent may obstruct both the physical time the other parent spends with the child, known as direct interference, as well the overall relationship with the child, which usually qualifies as indirect interference. Extreme cases of interference may result in criminal charges, while most moderate offenses may result in court-ordered changes to the parenting plan or days or custody to make up missed time.

Do not take your rights as a parent lightly. If your child's other parent recognizes that he or she can get away with violating small aspects of your parenting time, those violations may continue or escalate. For your own sake and in the best interests of your child, you should use all the legal options you have to protect your rights and maintain fair boundaries as you work to find firm footing after your divorce.

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  1. Charles W. Dobbins, Jr.

    Charles earned his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 1974

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