The months and years following two parents’ divorce may not be an easy transition for both the parents and the children involved. Even when parents try to respect each other’s rights and boundaries, learning how to share parenting responsibilities and privileges is rarely easy or pain-free.
During this transition time and in the months and years that follow, it is wise to understand when frustrating behavior by one parent or another becomes bad behavior that violates the rights of the other parent. Some parents seem to believe that their custody orders and parenting plans are simply suggestions, rather than legally binding documents.
When one parent’s behavior deprives the other parent of court-approved time with their child, this may lead to consequences handed down by the court. If you believe another parent’s behavior violates your rights to time with your child, then it is wise to examine the circumstances carefully and build yourself a strong legal strategy to protect those rights.
Direct parenting time interference may happen whenever one parent’s actions or neglect deprive the other parent of their court-ordered time with their child. It may simplify the matter to think of this as one parent “stealing” time with their child from the other parent.
While some parents do not like thinking of time with their child in these terms, it is also important to consider just how precious the time you spend with your child truly is. Once that time passes, it is not possible to reclaim it.
Of course, no one’s life is perfect or predictable all the time, so over time it is common for one parent or the other to struggle with maintaining a parenting and custody schedule perfectly. For instance, dangerous weather, medical issues or transportation difficulties affect us all at some point or another. However, if a parent develops a pattern of disregarding a custody schedule or violating the other parent’s rights in some other way, legal action may be a useful response.
In some cases, direct parenting time interference may escalate to parental kidnapping. This may occur when a parent takes their child out of the state or country without the knowledge or permission of the other parent.
Parental kidnapping is a very serious charge, and one that may lead to serious legal consequences, including jail time. While this kind of violation is extreme, it is important to understand that courts take parenting time violation seriously, and have the power to punish parents who do not take their boundaries seriously.
Protecting your rights
As you examine the specifics of your parenting time interference, it is wise to look at the tools you have to protect yourself and your time with the child you love. A strong legal strategy creates a clear understanding around what is and is not acceptable behavior by either parent. Begin building your legal strategy today, to keep your time with the child you love secure, for your sake and for theirs.