It is not always easy to navigate sharing custody of your child, especially when the other parent’s behavior complicates the time you have with your child. On one hand, every person deals with the struggles of parenting differently, and we all need some grace from time to time to find our footing in difficult circumstances. On the other hand, you should not allow bad behavior to undermine or obstruct the court-ordered time you spend with the child you love.

Protecting against parenting time interference begins when you and your child’s other parent separate or divorce and choose to raise the child separately. As a part of this process, it is wise to create a minding parenting plan that outlines how you plan to raise your child and the boundaries each parent must respect. This should include language that specifically prohibits either parent from interfering in the parenting time of the other, both directly and indirectly.

Direct interference occurs when one parent prevents the other from spending physical time with the child, whereas indirect interference may include speaking negatively about the other parent in the child’s presence, refusing to give the child gifts or messages from the other parent, or asking the child to spy on the other parent.

Any behavior by the other parent that compromises the time you spend with your child is worth assessing fairly and developing a strategy you can use to protect your rights. Whether the behavior is intentional or merely negligent, your rights should not suffer because of the bad behavior of your child’s other parent. Take great care to use the resources that you have available to protect these rights, for your own sake and for the sake of the child that you love.