Disputes regarding child custody and visitation can be highly contentious, forcing you to fight hard for the outcome that you think is best for you child. And when all is said and done, you might feel comfortable with the arrangement that was ultimately reached. But the truth of the matter is that child custody and parenting time issues can haunt you well into the future. And if you don’t competently handle them, your time with your children might be seriously jeopardized.
How parental interference might come into play
One way that parenting time issues come up is through parental interference. Here, the other parent, who may have primary physical custody, intentionally inhibits your ability to communicate and spend time with your child. As a result, your time with your child is limited and your relationship with them may be significantly damaged.
The difference between direct and indirect interference
Parental interference can be direct or indirect. Direct interference occurs when the other parent engages in overt actions or inactions that are aimed at affecting your parenting time. This might include failing to drop the child off for a scheduled visit, taking the child during the other parent’s scheduled visitation without obtaining prior permission, refusing to put the child on the phone when requested to do so by the other parent, and even moving out of state without notifying the other parent.
But parental interference isn’t always so blatant. There are indirect ways that this interference may affect your time with your child. For example, the other parent might fail to keep you informed of extracurricular activities involving your child. The other parent might also interfere with your time and relationship with your child by talking negatively about you to your child in hopes that the child will simply refuse to participate in visitation with you.
What can you do about parental interference?
If you’ve been subjected to parental interference, you might need to take legal action to correct the issue. To do so, you’ll need to file a motion informing the court of the interference and how, specifically, it has affected your parental rights and violated your custody agreement. You’ll want to make sure that you’re supporting your motion with facts, including attempts that you’ve made to have contact with your child and how you’ve been thwarted in those efforts.
The court will probably schedule the matter for a hearing where you and the other parent will have the opportunity to present additional evidence. If the court ends up siding with you, you might be able to obtain make-up visitation or even a modification of the existing custody agreement.
In some instances, the other parent might be held in contempt of court, which could result in the other parent being ordered to pay fees or spend some time in jail. In most instances of contempt, though, the court will just have a stern warning for the other parent in hopes of scaring them into complying with the existing court order.
Build the persuasive legal arguments that you need to support your claim
If you want to maximize your chances of rectifying the parental interference to which you’ve been subjected, you need to know how to tailor your arguments to the law. An attorney who has litigated these kinds of matters before can help you develop the persuasive arguments that you need on your side. Therefore, if you want an advocate on your side, you might want to research those firms that interest you and reach out to the ones that you think will give you the aggressive representation that you need.