After a divorce finalizes between two parents, it can take some time for things to settle down and begin to feel normal, especially for the children involved. If one or both parents continue to antagonize the other, this can add serious pressure on the child and may greatly impact their personal and emotional growth. It may even sever the relationship the child has with one or both parents, ultimately.
In the confusion of the experience, parents often have difficulty dealing with each other fairly and treating the needs of their child and each other's rights with proper respect. To help keep matters civil, courts require parents to create a parenting plan and reach a custody agreement, which the court approves. Once a parenting plan and custody order are in place, courts expect parents to obey them, not only for their own protection, but for the sake of the child.
Parenting time interference is not acceptable behavior
Unfortunately, some parents insist on poor behavior that violates the rights of the parent and places pressure on their child. Not only is this potentially bad parenting, it is also illegal. If courts learn that one or both parents violate an agreement, it may hand out punishments that range from making up custody days that one parent missed to the offending parent receiving criminal charges. If you suspect that your child's other parent interferes with your parenting time, you should examine the legal tools that you have available to keep your rights protected.
If one parent keeps the other parent from enjoying court-ordered custody time with their child, this typically qualifies as direct parenting time interference. Courts are particularly opposed to this type of obstruction and may discipline parents who act out in such a way by removing privileges.
Parents may also interfere indirectly with each other's custody time, if they manipulate or obstruct the child's relationship with the other parent. This may include speaking poorly about the other parent while the child is present, or may mean that one parent does not allow the other parent to speak to the child on the phone. While these obstructions do not take away the other parent's physical custody time, they do impact their relationship to the child, which courts do not allow.
Protecting your rights begins now
Whether or not your child's other parent behaves in unacceptable ways, you have a right and obligation to protect your rights as a parent, for yourself and for your child. Make sure that you understand the legal tools that you have available to keep your rights secure while you work to create a good life for the child you love.