The aftermath of a divorce or separation is rarely simple, especially when it involves children and custody concerns. For some parents, finalizing a divorce does not put an end to unfair behavior by one or both parties. Often, one parent may ignore their parenting and custody plans and refuse to respect the other parent’s rights to time with their child. Courts typically view this as parenting time interference.
Courts do not tend to favor parents who violate the other parent’s rights. This may lead to a variety of consequences, including lost parenting privileges, mandatory make-up days for missed custody time and, potentially, criminal charges. If you believe that your child’s other parent is guilty of violating your rights, make sure to take the proper steps to protect your rights and your relationship to your child.
What is direct interference?
Direct parenting time interference occurs when one parent’s actions or negligence deprive the other parent of their court-approved custody or visitation time with their child. Of course, the realities of sharing custody and visitation time with another parent are complicated. In the real world, we all struggle to color inside the lines perfectly every day. Occasional difficulties like sickness, extreme weather and transportation difficulties happen to everyone sooner or later.
However, if a parent has a pattern of showing up late or not at all to transfer child custody, this may qualify as direct interference. Similarly, if a parent takes a child outside of the state or country without the other parent’s knowledge or permission, this may qualify as parental kidnapping, which is a serious crime.
What is indirect interference?
Indirect interference occurs when one parent’s behavior undermines another parent’s relationship with their child, or poisons the time that the child and the other parent spend together. This may include:
- Instructing the child to spy on the other parent
- Speaking negatively about the other parent in the child’s presence
- Refusing to give the child a gift from the other parent
- Refusing to allow the child to communicate with they other parent on the phone or through messaging devices
Indirect interference is more difficult to identify, so it is wise to document any instances that you believe may count as indirect interference. As you gather evidence of questionable behavior, you can build a strong legal strategy to protect your rights and ensure that you have the tools and freedom to grow the relationship with the child you love.