It is normal for parents who do not live together to find some conflict over custody issues, but some conflict leads to parents using unfair tactics to obstruct one another's time with the child or their ability to build a relationship.
In some instances, a parent's actions may constitute parenting time interference, which is a serious violation of custody orders. If a court decides that a parent's actions violated parenting orders, the offending parent may lose privileges, or, in some extreme cases, may even lead to criminal charges.
If your child's other parent violates your rights to time and communication with the child, you deserve to protect those rights with the strength of the law. If you have questions about your rights or the legality of another parent's actions, an experienced family law attorney can help you understand the law and build a personalized strategy to protect you and the child you love.
Direct interference with parenting time
Parenting time interference can be either direct or indirect. When one parent keeps another parent from enjoying his or her court-ordered time with the child, this may qualify as direct interference. An extreme example of direct interference might involve a parent taking a child and moving to another state without the other parent's consent or knowledge.
A more common example might be parent regularly forgetting about visitation or dropping a child off much later than the agreed upon time.
Indirect interference involves obstructions to another parent's communication or relationship with the child. This might mean keeping the child from speaking or video-chatting with the other parent, or even speaking ill of the other parent in the child's presence.
Some parents choose to address this issue ahead of time by restricting such behavior explicitly in the parenting agreement.
Withholding child support is a nonstarter for the court
Often, child support neglect is a motivating factor of parenting time interference. It is important to understand that child support is the right of the child, not the right of the parent who receives it. If one parent falls behind on payments, the court will not look kindly on a parent who retaliates by withholding parenting time.
Protect yourself with the strength of the law
If you experience any of these unacceptable behaviors, you may have grounds to petition the court to examine the other parent's actions and make decisions about how to remedy the conflict.
Be sure that you have all the help you need to protect your rights and create a good life for the child you love.