For most parents, it is hard to share parenting time with someone else, especially when that person does not always act respectfully. Co-parenting in the modern world often means missing out on important milestones in a child’s life or facing conflict over how to raise the child.
You may experience behavior from your child’s other parent that is frustrating. That is a normal part of co-parenting. In general, it is a good idea to move past small frustrations, even if the irritation is intentional. However, some behavior is unacceptable, especially actions that take away parenting time that you received in your custody order.
If the other parent’s actions keep you from enjoying all the time that your custody order legally assigns to you, the courts may be the only way to enforce your rights. If you simply let this behavior continue, the other parent may begin to take more of it, and you can’t get that time back once it’s gone.
Accidental violations of your rights
We all make mistakes, and there’s no reason to use legal tools to punish another parent for an honest error or circumstances beyond their control. Sometimes it is just not possible to obey a custody order to the letter. If a parent experiences a medical emergency or has an unexpected problem with transportation, you probably won’t have anything to gain by appealing to the legal system.
However, some parents seem plagued by things beyond their control, or may make excuses for their behavior instead of taking their responsibilities seriously. If your child’s other parent faces circumstances beyond their control once or twice, it is probably not worth the trouble of getting the court involved. If they regularly fail to keep their end of the custody order, you might have to take a stronger stance to force them to comply.
Extreme cases of interference
Parenting time interference comes in many shapes and forms, and some of them are quite serious. Forgetting to exchange a child at a certain time is one thing, but leaving the state or country with your child is another.
If your child’s other parent takes drastic action like this, they may actually commit a serious crime called parental kidnapping. In cases of parental kidnapping, the violating parent may face criminal charges and can even wind up behind bars. Don’t take these actions lightly, for your own sake and for the sake of your child.
Protecting your rights is your responsibility, but knowing how to use the law correctly is not always easy. Be sure to use strong legal resources and guidance to keep your parental rights secure so that you can focus on spending time with the child you love and growing your parent-child relationship.