Developing your parenting style and values is difficult under any circumstances, but dealing with a co-parent who undermines your relationship with your child is exceptionally hard. Often, this behavior is simply something that you must overcome or ignore, but not if your co-parent’s behavior violates your rights.
Direct parenting time interference can occur when one parent keeps another parent from spending time with their child as outlined in their custody agreement. Indirect interference, on the other hand, may not steal your time, but may attempt to manipulate your parent-child relationship or undermine your authority.
This is not always easy to define, so it is important to carefully document your experiences any time that you believe that your child’s other parent interferes indirectly. If your experiences indicate a pattern of disrespectful behavior, then it might be time to get the court involved.
One parent preventing another from communicating with their child while they do not have physical custody is a common form of indirect interference. This can take many forms, such as:
- Refusing to allow the child to speak to the other parent on the phone
- Refusing to allow the child to communicate with the other parent through text messages or other similar platforms
- Refusing to give a child gifts or letters from the other parent
In general, blocking channels of communication between a child and parent is interference in that relationship, and the courts do not tolerate this behavior for very long.
Manipulation of the parent-child relationship
There are also other, more subtle forms of indirect interference. For instance, a parent may not talk negatively about the other parent in the presence of the child. This can create hostility or distrust between the affected parent and their child.
Similarly, parents may not coerce a child to spy on the other parent while the other parent has physical custody of the child. If you believe that your child’s other parent is indirectly interfering with your parent-child relationship, you should not put up with it or hope it will go away.
If a parent’s behavior stoops to the level of indirect interference, then they may suffer serious consequences, such as loss of parenting privileges. Be sure to use all the legal tools you have to protect your parental rights and give you the opportunity to build the best relationship you can with the child you love.