How Should I Respond if My Ex Interferes With My Visitation Time?

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Interference with parenting time after divorce

As a divorced dad, your time with your kids is precious. While you were once a constant presence in their lives, this usually isn’t possible following divorce, because they will be dividing their time between you and their mom. Adjusting to new parenting schedules can sometimes be difficult, but once you have settled in to your post-divorce lives, you can get used to the new arrangements and make the most of the time you have together. Whether you and your ex share equal custody or not, your time with your kids will be limited, and you’ll want to make sure to address anything that would limit or take away that time. If your ex has deliberately withheld parenting time or otherwise interfered with your visitation, you should take immediate action to protect your parental rights and avoid causing harm to your children.

Interference With Parenting Time Is Illegal in Most Cases

Unfortunately, your relationship with your ex might not be especially rosy after your divorce. The two of you are likely still feeling the emotional fallout of your breakup, and even if you have done your best to put this conflict behind you, disputes may still flare up, leading either of you to attempt to hurt the other. One way ex-spouses may try to inflict harm is by refusing to allow their former partner to see their kids or otherwise interfering with their parenting time. 

While withholding of parenting time is sometimes overt, with one parent stating that the other parent is not allowed to see or spend time with the kids, interference with visitation is often much more subtle. Your ex may regularly be late when dropping off your kids, or she may invite herself along on outings with your children. She may regularly schedule children’s activities or appointments during your parenting time, or she may constantly be calling them or attempting to monitor your whereabouts and what you are doing. Regardless of how it happens, interference with parenting time is not acceptable, and you may need to take legal action to address it.

Your ex may also attempt to withhold parenting time in retaliation for other issues. For instance, if financial difficulties have caused you to get behind on child support payments, your ex may believe that it is appropriate to punish you for this infraction by refusing to allow you to have visitation time. While it is important to address issues related to child support, including asking the court for a modification if you are struggling to meet your obligations, you should understand that your ex is not allowed to retaliate against you in this way. If she has refused to allow you to see your children during your scheduled parenting time, you will want to address this matter with the court.

The child custody and visitation agreement created as part of your divorce decree is a legally-binding court order, and both you and your ex are required to follow it. The only time a parent is allowed to withhold parenting time is if they reasonably believe their children are at risk of physical or emotional harm when in the care of the other parent. In these cases, a parent will need to provide strong evidence supporting their claims. If your ex has unreasonably withheld visitation, you may be able to have her held in contempt of court for violating a court order, and you may also be able to seek modifications to your child custody agreement to give you more time with your kids or place restrictions on her parenting time.

If your ex has withheld or interfered with your parenting time, or if she has made claims that you have committed domestic abuse, you’ll want to take immediate action to defend your parental rights. A skilled family law attorney can help you determine the best ways to proceed, and they can provide representation in court and ensure that your children’s best interests are protected at all times.

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