When a divorce involves children, it is easy for emotions to run high. Many courts try to ensure both parents can have time with their children, as long as it is in the child's/ren's best interests. However, when a custody arrangement doesn't work out the way one parent wanted, resentment can easily grow.
In some cases, parents can work out a new arrangement on their own. In others, they resort to behaviors that can put their custody or visitation time in jeopardy. These behaviors are called "parenting time interference," and can result in the loss of custody or contempt of court.
Below, we discuss some common behaviors that can lead to a finding of "interference."
Refusing attempts to communicate
Many people might think hitting "ignore" on a call from their ex-spouse will not land them in trouble. However, falling into a pattern of preventing communication can lead to serious issues. A court might conclude they are depriving the other parent of custodial or parental rights, or not acting in a child's best interests by failing to communicate with the other parent.
Some custody agreements lay out a specific time and place for parents to exchange custody. When a parent is consistently late picking up or dropping off their child, that counts as interference.
If your agreement requires you to meet in a public place to exchange custody, like a gas station parking lot, purchase something and keep the receipt to prove you were there at the proper time.
Tying child support to custody and visitation
It is essential for parents to remember that child support and child custody are very distinct legal rights. A parent does not pay child support in exchange for parenting time. Withholding parenting time beause the other parent is behind in support payments, or withholding support because the other parent has interfered with parenting time, can harm the thing the parent cares about most: their relationship with their child.