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Most couples who choose to raise a child separately face difficulty learning how to share custody and visitation rights. While some difficulty in this area is normal, sometimes one or both spouses may behave unacceptably, creating parenting time interference.

Parenting time interference is not a laughing matter to family courts. If one parent interferes with the parenting time of the other, the court may choose to punish the offending parent in a number of ways, including rearranging parenting time schedules, loss of parenting privileges, and, in some extreme cases, even criminal charges.

If you suspect your child’s other parent of interfering with your parenting time, you may want consult with a family law attorney. An experienced attorney can help you examine all aspects of your circumstances and determine a legally viable way to protect your rights and address unfair behavior by the other parent.

Direct parenting time interference

Parenting time interference may occur either directly or indirectly. If your child’s other parent behaves in a way that specifically obstructs the physical time that you spend with your child, or keeps your from spending time with the child altogether, this may qualify as direct interference.

A relatively small form of such interference might include a parent who repeatedly fails to drop off children for visitation at the agreed upon time and place. A more severe instance of this kind of interference could be a parent who takes a child during his or her custody time and leaves the state with them, especially if the parent does not return the child at the appropriate time.

Indirect interference

A parent may also interfere with another parent’s time with a child indirectly. This may include any behavior on the part of a parent that obstructs the communication of the other parent with the child, or seeks to manipulate the relationship between the other parent and the child.

This might include one parent refusing to allow the other parent to speak to a child on the phone, or coerces the child to spy on the other parent. It may even include simply speaking poorly of the other parent in the child’s presence. Essentially, if one parent attempts to control the relationship of the other parent to the child, this may count as indirect interference.

Protecting your rights

If you believe that your child’s other parent is interfering with your parenting time, you may have legal grounds to fight this behavior. Be sure to build a strong case with solid evidence that protects your rights and clearly demonstrates the other parent’s unacceptable behavior.