When you share custody of your children, issues can arise if you or your ex interfere with each other’s parenting time. Doing so can harm your children and have serious legal repercussions, so knowing what interference might look like is crucial.
Direct and indirect interference
Direct interference consists of intentionally depriving a parent of custody rights or time with or access to a child. Some ways the other parent of your child might do this include:
- Refusing to return your child to you
- Willfully violating court orders regarding custody arrangements and expectations
- Exposing your child to risks of injury or illness
- Hiding your child
- Enticing your child away from you
- Taking them out of state or country without permission
These actions could trigger gross misdemeanor or felony charges for the parent in violation.
There are also ways your ex could indirectly interfere with your parental and custodial rights. Some examples of these behaviors include:
- Using your child to spy on you
- Repeatedly contacting your child during your parenting time
- Refusing to allow your child to have reasonable communication with you during their parenting time
- Failing to inform you of significant academic, medical or personal developments or requirements
- Disparaging you in front of your child
- Listening in on or reading exchanges between you and your child
These methods can be more subtle than direct interference but can be just as harmful. If you notice any of these things occurring, speaking up right away can be crucial.
Resolving interference disputes
Some of the most valuable tools parents use to co-parent successfully include good communication, trust and respect for each other. Unfortunately, plenty of former couples are lacking in at least one of these areas, which can lead to issues, including custodial interference.
Considering all that is at stake, it is crucial for parents to know what they can and cannot do and take steps to call out unlawful actions as soon as possible. Options might include speaking directly to the other parent, seeking a custody modification or pursuing legal action.