Many parents face great difficulty making the transition from being one family to raising their children separately after divorce. While the reasons may be obvious for this, it’s not always clear when to accept some bumps in the road along the way and when another parent’s behavior or refusal to abide by the rules is truly an issue that requires legal action.
You might be surprised to learn that courts take parenting time very seriously, and expect parents to abide by the terms of their parenting agreements and custody orders. When one parent chooses to bend the rules and obstruct the time that the other parent enjoys with their child, this usually constitutes parenting time interference. A parent may interfere either directly or indirectly with the other parent’s time, but both types of interference are unacceptable and may result in punishment from the court, and possibly even criminal charges.
Direct interference means that one parent’s actions or negligence impact the court-ordered time he or she spends with their child. Sometimes this is as simple as one parent always showing up late to drop off a child to transfer custody, while other instances may involve taking a child out of the state without the knowledge or consent of the other parent.
Indirect interference can include many more behaviors that undermine the other parent’s time with the child or their relationship. Any actions one parent takes to undermine the child-parent relationship or prevent the other from communicating with the child may qualify as indirect interference.
Often, these violations are simply the other parent testing the waters to see what they can get away with. A careful response out of strength may resolve the matter, but if not, legal action may prove necessary. Make sure to protect your rights and the relationship you have with the child you love by using the protection the law affords you to the fullest extent.