The months and years after a divorce between two parents is often a difficult season, particularly when parents must obey a custody order and share the parenting time they have with their child. For many parents, it is tempting to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior, violating the other parent’s rights.

When one parent violates the other parent’s rights to court-ordered time with their child, it may qualify as parenting time interference. Courts take this interference seriously, and may punish a parent who interferes with the other by limiting custody privileges or possibly with criminal charges.

If you believe that your other child’s parent violates your right to time with your child, you should examine these interactions carefully. Not all custody conflicts qualify as parenting time interference, but many do. You may have grounds to file a complaint to protect these rights, but it is wise to build a strong, evidence-based case before accusing your child’s other parent.

Stolen time with your child

The time we spend with our children is truly precious, and once it is gone we cannot regain it. For parents who share time with their child together, this time is even more important, because it is scarce. When a parent disobeys their custody order and prevents the other parent from enjoying all of their court-ordered parenting time or visitation, they are stealing time from the other parent, and that time is simply gone. Courts consider this direct parenting time interference.

We all experience struggles that are beyond our control from time to time, such as a flat tire or a serious illness, and parents should remain flexible to work with each other when these issues arise. However, repeated violations of parenting time are not acceptable.

Manipulation of your parent-child relationship

Indirect parenting time interference includes manipulative behavior by one parent attempting to undermine the other parent’s relationship with their child. This may apply if one parent speaks negatively about the other parent in front of the child, or if one parent refuses to let the other parent communicate with the child.

These are only some of the many ways that one parent can interfere with the other. If your coparent’s behavior undermines your relationship with your child, you may need to use the strength of the law to keep these rights secure.