On behalf of Joseph R. Schmitz of Schmitz Law, P.C. posted in blog on Monday, December 24, 2020.

In co-parenting, the time that each parent spends with their child is important to protect, both for the parents and for the child. For many parents, this time is one of the most precious things that they have. When the other parent steals that time or undermines the parent-child relationship, the losses are very real.

Parents who obstruct another parent’s time with their child may ultimately face legal consequences, which is often the only way that a parent behaving badly will see how serious these actions are. If you believe that your child’s other parent violates your rights to time with your child, a strong legal strategy can help you keep these rights secure.

When a parent steals custody time

Direct parenting time interference may occur any time that one parent prevents the other parent from enjoying the allotted time with their child. The schedule of custody laid out in the parents’ custody plan is there to keep these rights protected, so both parents must take this schedule seriously. It is not a suggestion from the court, and ignoring the order may result in loss of parental privileges.

Of course, we all experience emergencies or conflicts beyond our control. When these happen, it is best to inform the other parent as quickly as possible and offer a solution that accounts for any lost time. If a parent shows up late to trade custody repeatedly, courts do not generally let this go unpunished indefinitely.

Throughout the divorce process, remain open to a dialogue with the children. They may have more questions and it’s important that they feel comfortable talking to you about their thoughts and feelings.

When a parent undermines the parent-child relationship

Even if the other parent does not keep you from enjoying all your time with your child, they may manipulate your relationship with the child or attempt to control it. The courts also recognize this as indirect interference. Any behavior that attempts to undermine your relationship with your child may qualify as indirect interference.

This might include the other parent refusing to put your child on the phone when you call, or speaking negatively about you in the presence of the child. If you send gifts to the child and the other parent withholds them, this, too, is interference.

Be sure to consider each of the ways that you suspect your child’s other parent interferes with your parenting time. You may have grounds to file a formal complaint to protect your time with your child. Use high-quality legal tools and guidance as you work to keep your parental rights secure and spend time with the child you love.

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