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Is your child’s other parent interfering with your rights?

Learning to work with your child's other parent in a custody arrangement is rarely a simple process. In most cases, even well meaning parents find it difficult to operate within the guidelines of their custody arrangement entirely. Also, finding a reliable pattern for sharing parenting time can take a number of months before both parents get comfortable with the arrangement. Many facets may affect this process, such as the age and needs of your child, and any ongoing conflicts between you and your child's other parent.

While it is certainly normal to experience some conflict when sharing custody, some intentional or even negligent behavior from either parent is simply unacceptable. If one parent takes actions or refuses to take action in a way that affects the other parent's court appointed time with a child, the court may see this as parenting time interference, which is a serious violation.

You may suspect your child's other parent of interfering with your parenting time. If so, gathering documentation of these violations and assessing them carefully may reveal that you have legal grounds to object to this behavior and possibly use the strength of the law to put a stop to it. An experienced attorney can guide you throughout this process and help you make sure that you fully understand your rights while you fight to protect them.

Direct and indirect interference

This type of violation may come in direct and indirect forms. Direct interference means that one parent's actions or negligence denies the other parent physical time with their child. This may be as simple as repeatedly mixing up custody days and times to swap out the child, or habitually showing up significantly late at the agreed-upon time to trade custody of the child. Even though this is not always the result of malice on the part of a parent, it still denies the other parent one's time with the child.

Another example, on the extreme end, is a parent who takes a child during his or her custody time and then simply refuses to return the child to the other parent. This may even rise to the level of parental kidnapping.

Indirect interference covers a much larger group of behaviors. Indirect interference affects the parents' time with the child or the parents' ability to build and maintain a relationship with the child.

This might include actions like one parent refusing to allow a child to video conference with the other parent, or take phone calls from the other parent, or may even cover one parent disappearing the other in the child's presence or asking the child to report back on the other parent's behavior whenever the child spends time in the other parent's home. All of these behaviors are considered interference and are not allowed.

Protecting your rights

Should you believe that your child's other parent interferes with your custody, don't hesitate to use the legal tools you have available to put a stop to this. If you have court-ordered custody privileges, you should not have to forfeit them.

Be sure to take this matter seriously, to set the tone for the time you have left to raise the child you love, and to protect yourself and your rights for years to come.

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