The time that a parent spends with their child is irreplaceable, both for the parent and the child. For parents who raise their children separately after divorce, sharing this time can lead to serious conflicts that affect the whole family. This is particularly true when one or both parents undermine each other's authority and rights to spend their parenting time the way they choose.
When one parent takes away another's time with their child, or when a parent's behavior manipulates their child against the other parent, this may qualify as parenting time interference. Courts take parenting time rights seriously, and may punish a parent who violates parenting time guidelines with loss of parenting privileges, mandatory make-up days for lost parenting time, and even criminal charges, in some cases.
If you suspect that your child's other parent is violating your parenting time rights, you may have several legal tools in Georgia you can use to protect your time with your child. A strong legal strategy helps ensure that your rights remain secure as you navigate the difficult parts of raising your child alongside their other parent.
What is direct interference?
Direct parenting time interference occurs when one parent prevents another parent from enjoying all of the time they are entitled to with the child they love. If you have a custody agreement, the time that the agreement outlines for each parent to enjoy custody or visitation privileges is not a suggestion about how to divide parenting time. Your custody agreement is a legally binding document, and courts expect each parent to respect the custody and visitation schedule.
Of course, there are times when it is simply not possible to comply with custody guidelines. Transportation difficulties, serious illness and other complications can happen to any of us, but it is important to recognize when a parent takes advantage of custody flexibility. Ultimately, you have the right to enjoy all the parenting time allowed to you in your custody order, and defending this right ensures that you do not miss important moments in your child's development more than necessary.
Indirect interference does not keep a parent from enjoying physical custody of their child. This form of interference occurs when one parent's behavior violates the rights of the other parent to raise their child as they see fit.
Often, this involves manipulative behavior, such as one parent refusing to allow the other parent to speak to their child on the phone, refusing to give their child gifts from the other parent or coercing their child to spy on the other parent during shared custody.
Even speaking negatively about the other parent in the presence of the child may qualify as indirect interference. In broad strokes, parents should remain mindful that they cannot control the preferences of the other parent, as long as the other parent's actions do not violate the law or place their child in danger.
If you believe that your child's other parent interferes with your parenting time, don't wait to seek strong solutions. Your time with your child passes quickly, and once it is gone, it is gone forever. Protecting your time with the child you love is one of the greatest gifts you give, both to yourself and to your child.