Parents who choose to raise a child separately often face numerous conflicts over sticking to their custody order. Unfortunately, some parents seem to believe that custody orders are a strong suggestion from the court, not legally binding orders.
While it is normal for most parents to run into unavoidable scheduling issues from time to time, some parents push the issue. They wish to see what they can get away with. They want to gain more time with the child or punish the other parent. This behavior is not only unacceptable on a personal level, it is also illegal. It may result in loss of privileges by the offending parent.
Does the other parent steal your time with your child?
Broadly speaking, there are two forms of parenting time interference, both direct and indirect. Direct interference occurs when one parent physically prevents the other parent from spending their court-ordered time with their child. Indirect interference occurs when one parent manipulates or undermines the other parent or child to control or weaken the relationship.
You must use your own judgment. Some conflicts are unavoidable, such as a flat tire that keeps your child’s other parent from being on time to exchange custody.
However, if your child’s other parent repeatedly shows up late, or if they cancel visitation or custody exchanges, then you should consider your legal options. Direct parenting time interference is a serious matter to the courts. Your child’s other parent may lose some privileges as punishment if the court agrees that their actions justify it.
Does the other parent undermine your relationship with your child?
Indirect interference is also a serious matter, even though it is more difficult to identify and prove. Indirect interference refers to behavior by one parent that obstructs how the other parent communicates or builds a relationship with the child.
Sometimes, this is something as simple as one parent asking their child to spy on the other parent, or refusing to allow the child to speak to the other parent on the phone. Parents must respect each other’s right to build and maintain relationships with their child as they see fit.
Often, however, one parent simply does not approve of the parenting style of the other parent, and may try to exert control on the situation. While it is understandable for parents to disagree, it is not acceptable for one parent to manipulate the other parent or the child.
Should you find that your relationship with your child suffers because of interference from the child’s other parent, build a legal strategy now. You must protect your parent-child relationship and keep your rights secure while you raise the child you love in the way that you see fit.