It is rarely easy for two parents to raise their child separately, but coparenting after divorce or separation may ultimately be the best solution for everyone involved. Still, there are many pitfalls along the way, and if one or both parents do not respect each other’s rights and boundaries while raising their child, everyone may suffer.
One of the most common ways that a parent may violate another parent’s rights is through stealing their parenting time. If your child’s other parent oversteps this boundary, you should consider all the legal options that you have to protect yourself. Not only does this take away time that you can’t recover, it may also harm your child by weakening their relationship to you.
Courts recognize the importance of children enjoying strong relationships with both parents, and reflect this value in custody orders. If you have a custody order, then you have a court-ordered outline of the parenting time. If your child’s other parent disobeys the order, they may commit parenting time interference.
Parenting time is a finite asset
Some parents think, “It’s no big deal if I change plans at the last minute, I can always make it up next week,” or some variation of this viewpoint. Of course, none of us know what the future holds, and our time is truly something we can never get back once it is lost. The time you spend with your child is exceptionally precious. As they grow and go through the stages of development, they experience many things for the first time and have foundational experiences that you cannot repeat or replicate.
When the other parent fails to acknowledge the value of your time with your child, they seriously violate your parental rights. Sometimes they simply manage their time poorly and show up late to exchange your child or forget that it is the day to transfer custody or have visitation. Whether or not these violations are intentional, they are harmful, and you are the one paying the practical and emotional costs.
Protecting your rights
Courts that see one parent violating another’s rights have several ways to punish the violating parent. Sometimes simple remedies like makeup days are sufficient. Sometimes harsher penalties like loss of parenting privileges are necessary. Make sure to build a strong case by documenting your experiences carefully so that you can keep your rights secure as you work to make the best life you can for the child you love.