Parenting Time Interference
Couples with children who decide to dissolve their marriages are required to come up with a parenting plan that details how parenting time will be allocated between them before their divorce can be finalized. These arrangements are intended to ensure that children have ongoing and meaningful contact with both of their parents even after the marriage has been dissolved. When these agreements are made and a divorce decree is issued, both parties are required to comply with the terms of the arrangement.
Interfering with an ex-spouse’s allotted parenting time isn’t permitted and can actually lead to indirect contempt of court charges or modification of a custody arrangement. With so much at stake it is important for those who have been unfairly accused of interfering with an ex-spouse’s time with their child, or whose ex-spouse is making it impossible to comply with their own time sharing arrangement, to speak with an experienced visitation rights attorney who can help protect their interests.
Interfering with Parenting Time
It is not uncommon for complications to arise in our day to day lives that could have an impact on a parent’s ability to comply with a custody agreement. For instance, one parent may be running late to pick up a child from school or have a business trip that overlaps with a weekend where he or she has custody of the child. While most parents are able to work through these problems and make alternate arrangements, this is not always possible, especially when one ex-spouse is purposely attempting to intrude on the other parent’s time with their child by simply refusing to abide by the terms of the custody arrangement.
Direct vs Indirect Interference
Direct interference with parenting time involves purposeful disruptions or intentionally creating problems between a child and his or her other parent. Generally, intentional interference, such as causing parental alienation syndrome in a child, is considered more serious than unintentional interference. Indirect interference is more common than direct interference and involves unintentional disruptions to a parenting time agreement, often as a result of a lack of communication between the parties, an oversight on one party’s behalf, a lack of funds to pay for transportation, or failing to notify an ex-spouse about a child’s extracurricular activities or school functions. Even when unintentional, these indirect interferences can still have a negative effect on the parent-child relationship.
Whether interference is direct or indirect in nature, the at-fault party could be held in contempt of court, which could involve jail time and hefty fines. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid contempt of court charges by arranging for make-up time to compensate the other parent for a lack of visitation, voluntarily attending counseling, or paying all fines and fees. However, if a party is held in contempt of court, a judge could order that a parenting time arrangement be either temporarily or permanently modified.
Call an Experienced Visitation Rights Attorney
Please call 954-945-7591 to schedule a free consultation with compassionate and experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A.