As a parent, you know that the time you spend with your child is some of the most precious time you have. Unfortunately, in a co-parenting situation, respecting each other's parenting rights and preferences is often very difficult. Many parents find that the first year of living under a custody order is very difficult, and few parents manage to follow the guidelines of the order perfectly. This is normal, and it is often wise to give each other grace when conflicts arise, for the sake of your ongoing relationship with the other parent, and for the child that you both love.
But, some parents engage in truly unacceptable behavior and actually violates the parental rights of the other party, which may come with legal consequences. If you believe that your child's other parent violated your rights, don't hesitate to consider the legal options you may use in response. An experienced attorney is a strong resource you can use to understand your legal options and examine your circumstances to keep your rights secure.
Protecting physical time with your child
If you have a custody order, it likely outlines the specific amount of time the other parent is legally required to share the child with you, and a schedule of when that is to take place. If the other parent keeps you from spending this court ordered time with your child, then this qualifies as direct parenting time interference.
Direct interference can range from relatively mild to highly illegal, if a parent takes the child and leaves the state or the country. This behavior may actually result in criminal charges and jail time for the offending parent. But, even if the parent is only careless or doesn't really care about the custody order, the violations are still serious. Don't wait to step in and defend your rights as soon as this type of behavior occurs.
Protecting your relationship with your child
Indirect interference may not keep you from spending your court-ordered time with the child, but may otherwise complicate or obstruct your relationship with the child. Indirect interference covers a wide range of behavior, from refusing to give presents from a parent to a child, keeping the child from speaking with the parent on the phone, or telling the child to spy on the other parent.
Courts also do not appreciate when one parent disparages the other in front of the child. In fact, many parenting plans now include specific terms that restrict parents from speaking poorly of one another in the presence of the child.
If you suspect that your child's other parent is obstructing your relationship, you may have a number of legal tools available. Be sure to consider all your options as you work to build a good life for the child you love.