Once the difficult matter of your divorce finalizes, you may be more than ready to get this all behind you and start a fresh chapter of single life. Of course, if you share custody or visitation privileges with your former spouses, then your fresh start may not be as much of a clean break as you might hope.
For some parents, sharing custody with the same person they chose to divorce is a very difficult task, and may lead them to some frustrating and even illegal behavior. As a parent with court ordered custody time with your child, you understand that your parenting time is a very precious thing, and you must make it a top priority to keep that time protected.
For most parents, this issue is difficult to approach because much of the behavior that may qualify as indirect parenting time interference seems infuriatingly petty. Common examples include:
- Speaking negatively about you to the child or in front of them
- Refusing to allow the child to speak on the phone with you
- Refusing to allow the child to receive gifts that you give them
- Encouraging the child to spy on you while he or she is in your home
Essentially, indirect interference refers to behavior that seeks to manipulate your relationship. If you suspect your child’s other parent of interference, but do not know if a particular behavior qualifies in the eyes of the court, an experienced family law attorney can help you assess the issue and build a strong legal defense.
In some cases, one parent may physically prevent the other parent from enjoying their court-ordered time with the child. This generally constitutes direct interference. Whether the other parent’s motivations are malicious or not, behavior that keeps you from spending time with your child according to your custody order is not acceptable.
Some parents do not want to “make a big deal” about it when the other parent shows up late repeatedly or balks at passing the phone to the child to talk together. Whether your child’s other parent is merely irresponsible and can’t show up on time to anything to save his or her life or obstructs your relationship out of pettiness or some larger anger issue, direct interference is unacceptable in any form.
Your time with your child is ultimately one of the most important gifts that you may receive in your lifetime, so be sure to treat it with the respect and protection that it deserves, for your sake and for the sake of the child you love.