Sharing custody or visitation rights with your child's other parent is almost always a difficult experience, even when everyone involved attempts to remain respectful of each other's needs and rights. The realities of sharing parenting time can flare tempers or bring out behavior that is simply not acceptable, especially when it comes to each parent's right to time with their child.
If you notice that the other parent does not respect your rights to time with your child, or acts like the rights and responsibilities outlined in your custody agreement are merely suggestions, they may be violating your rights as a parent. Courts take this seriously, and can step in to enforce your rights and punish the offending parent if necessary.
The time you spend with your child is one of the most precious non-renewable resources you have. Once you miss time with your child, it is simply gone and cannot be reclaimed. Protecting time with your child and your rights as a parent is a great responsibility, and one that you must keep secure.
Direct and indirect interference
There are many types of disruptive behavior that courts disapprove when it comes to co-parenting, but they generally fall into two categories, direct and indirect interference. Direct interference is easier to identify and document than indirect interference, but they are both unacceptable and you should not tolerate them.
Direct interference occurs when one parent's actions or negligence prevents the other parent from spending parenting time with their child as it is outlined in their custody order. Forgetting about custody transfers, routinely showing up late to transfer a child, or leaving the state without the knowledge or permission of the other parent all may qualify as direct interference.
Indirect interference occurs when one parent undermines the other parent's ability to build a relationship with their child, or prevents the other parent from communicating with the child. This may involve refusing to let the child speak to the other parent on the phone or through messaging apps, speaking negatively about the other parent around the child, or instructing the child to spy on the other parent during shared custody or visitation.
If you find yourself facing this type of behavior, you may have legal tools you can use to protect yourself and put an end to the behavior once and for all.
Protect your rights with a clear legal strategy
It is up to you to protect your rights as a parent, and the sooner that you set a strong precedent around respecting the guidelines of your custody order and parenting agreement, the better. Some parents want to use a child to hurt the other parent, which degrades their character and may also harm the child in the long term. However, this does not not have to be your coparenting experience.
By understanding the specifics of your custody agreement and committing to stick to them, it is easier to push back when the other parent violates your rights. With clear communication about these boundaries and your expectations that the other parent respect them, you can keep your rights secure as a parent and turn your attention to spending time with the child you love.