Coparenting always comes with its own unique challenges, no matter the circumstances. The temptation to use child custody as a tool to punish the other parent for your own frustrations is common, and is a struggle that crosses all social and economic boundaries. No parent has too much or too little money to face this struggle, and bad co-parenting behavior can develop in anyone, even if they are otherwise a reasonable and dependable person.
If you experience conflicts with your coparent when it comes to sticking to a custody order or parenting plan a court approved, then you must take steps to protect your parental rights. Protecting your time with your child is not only in your own best interest, it is in your child’s best interest as well. After all, the hours of time that you miss with your child add up, and neither of you can ever get them back.
Parents act out, too
Unfortunately, it is common for parents to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior when sharing custody. In some cases, this is intentional behavior, while in others it is not. Either way, when one parent fails to stick to the terms of their custody order, they steal parenting time from the other parent and the child.
Parenting time interference can occur directly or indirectly. Direct interference occurs when one parent takes the other parent’s time with their child, not allowing them to physically take custody or enjoy visitation. Whether this happens because one parent is very bad at time management or because they are intentionally acting out, the result is the same.
You deserve to defend your time with your child, because it is one of your most precious resources. It can slip away more quickly than you might realize.
Indirect interference can occur even if one parent does not physically keep the other from taking custody of their child. A parent who refuses to allow the child to speak to the other parent on the phone, for instance, may commit indirect interference.
Similarly, if one parent speaks poorly of the other parent in the presence of the child, this may qualify as indirect interference. Any behavior that seeks to undermine or destroy the other parent’s relationship with their child can qualify as indirect interference.
Protect your relationship with the child you love
Some parents assume that these issues are not worth dragging into court, but your time with your child is certainly something to cherish and protect. If you suspect that your coparent disobeys your custody order or parenting agreement, be sure to consider your legal options. You may have grounds to petition a court for enforcement, or some other solution may be a better fit. With a strong legal strategy, you can focus on loving your child well and doing everything you can to provide them with the life they deserve.