Parents who share custody of a child face a difficult balancing act when it comes to spending time with the child and sharing parental obligations and privileges. Successful co-parenting requires even-handed compromise and both parents’ focus on the best interests of their child. It also leaves it up to parents to defend their own rights if the other parent violates them.

This is not an easy balance to maintain, especially if one parent or the other behaves poorly. Parents often use child custody conflicts to punish each other or to push the boundaries of what the other parent will put up with. If this behavior undermines a parent’s relationship with their child, or if one parent’s actions keep the other parent from physically spending court-ordered time with their child, it may count as parenting time interference.

Parenting time interference is a serious concern

You may experience parenting time interference in your own life and not even realize it, especially if your child’s other parent has good reasons for showing up late to exchange custody or violating your rights in some other way.

To be fair, very few people can co-parent a child without any conflict along the way. It is not always wise to pursue legal action just because your shared custody experience gets off on the wrong foot or takes some time to get comfortable. Still, courts view parenting time interference as a serious matter, and may punish the offending parent with loss of privileges and other means if necessary.

Direct parenting time interference

Direct interference occurs when one parent stops the other parent from spending their court-ordered time physically with their child. This may occur if one parent does not take custody schedules seriously and repeatedly forgets to transfer their child to the other parent, or refuses to bring a child for visitation with a parent.

Some forms of direct interference are more serious than others, and may even result in criminal charges if a parent commits parental kidnapping. While the specifics of each case are weighed on their own, parental kidnapping can occur if one parent takes a child and leaves the state or country without the other parent’s knowledge and permission.

Indirect interference

Even if one parent does not keep the other from physically spending time with their child, many other kinds of behavior may qualify as indirect interference. Indirect interference includes actions and negligence that undermine the other parent’s relationship with the child or communication with their child. This may include a parent telling their child negative things about the other parent, or openly discussing conflicts with the other parent in front of the child. It may also apply if one parent refuses to allow their child and the other parent to speak on the phone or communicate through other devices.

If you believe that your child’s other parent interferes with your parenting time or obstructs your relationship with your child, you must take action to protect your rights. Your child deserves the best life that you can give them and the best relationship that you can foster. Don’t hesitate to defend your parenting privileges with a strong legal strategy that keeps your rights secure and protects your relationship with the child you love.