Whether you divorce your child’s other parent and share custody, or were never married and are raising your child separately, it is often difficult to get accustomed to custody arrangements. The first several months are often frustrating for all parties, even if both parents want to work together to provide a good life for their child.
However, these difficulties do not excuse obstructive behaviors. If one parent’s actions keeps the other from spending court-ordered time with their child or attempts to manipulate or control the other parent’s relationship with him or her, it may qualify as parenting-time interference. This is a serious violation that may result in loss of parenting privileges in mild cases, or criminal charges in more extreme instances.
What counts as interference?
Interference may occur directly or indirectly, depending on the specific actions of the offending parent. Direct interference prevents a parent from physically spending time with a child. This might include parents who refuse to show up with their children for visitation, or even parents who repeatedly show up late to drop off a child for shared custody. Some forms of direct interference are more extreme, and may result in criminal consequences, like parental kidnapping.
Indirect interference does not prevent a parent from physically spending time with a child, but does obstruct his or her communication with the child. Alternatively, it may include those parents who attempt to degrade or control the other parent’s relationship with their child. A parent who tells a child to report back on the other parent’s behavior, or says negative things about the other parent in the child’s presence commits indirect interference.
Many parents choose to address this issue in their parenting agreements by including specific language that forbids parenting time interference and recommends punishments according to the type violation a parent might commit.
These precautions may seem unnecessary, but it is always important to create a common basis of understanding and expectation when approaching custody issues. If one parent believes a certain type of behavior is acceptable or outside of the reach of the court, there is very little to keep the parent from acting in that way. By making sure that each parent understands the guidelines and expectations of a custody arrangement, it is often possible to avoid these issues altogether or address them swiftly if one parent has a lapse of judgement.
If you have concerns about protecting your rights as a parent, you can gain insight into your circumstances with some advice from an experienced family law attorney here in Montgomery. Professional counsel helps you look at your experiences to identify any violations against which you can take legal actions, keeping your rights secure as you work to create a wonderful life for the child you love.