Legal Options When Your Ex Interferes with Parenting Time

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Child Custody and Visitation

Family lawyerDivorce is never easy, and when children are involved, it can become even more complicated. One of the most challenging situations a divorced parent can face is when an ex-partner interferes with court-ordered visitation rights. This not only causes emotional distress for the parent being denied access but can also have a profound impact on the children caught in the middle. If you find yourself in this situation, knowing your legal rights and the steps you can take to protect your relationship with your children is helpful.

What Makes a Situation a “Visitation Interference”?

Visitation interference occurs when one parent deliberately prevents the other from spending court-allocated time with the children. This can take many forms, such as:

  • Consistently canceling or rescheduling visitations at the last minute
  • Refusing to allow the children to leave for scheduled visits
  • Making false allegations of abuse or neglect against the other parent
  • Relocating with the children without notifying the other parent or obtaining court approval

The Importance of Documentation

If you suspect your ex is interfering with your visitation rights, the first step is to document every incident. Keep a detailed record of canceled visits, late drop-offs, or other actions violating your court-ordered parenting plan. Save any relevant text messages, emails, or voicemails that demonstrate your ex’s uncooperative behavior. This documentation will be helpful if you need to take legal action.

Try to Resolve the Issue in a Civil Manner

Before escalating the situation, address the issue directly with your ex. Approach the conversation calmly and focus on finding a solution that prioritizes your children’s well-being. If face-to-face communication is difficult, consider using a co-parenting app or email to discuss the matter. Sometimes, a gentle reminder of the importance of maintaining a consistent visitation schedule can be enough to resolve the problem.

Mediation Can Be a Constructive Approach

If direct communication fails, consider proposing mediation. A neutral third party helps you and your ex work through your differences and find a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation can be less adversarial and costly than going to court, and it allows both parents to have a say in the outcome. Many courts even require mediation before allowing a case to proceed to trial.

Consider Taking Legal Action

When all other attempts to resolve the issue have been exhausted, it may be necessary to take legal action. This typically involves filing a motion with the court to enforce your visitation rights. Your attorney can help you gather the necessary documentation and present a compelling case to the judge. If your ex is found to be in contempt of court, she may face penalties such as fines, mandatory counseling, or even jail time in severe cases.

Prioritize Your Children’s Well-Being

Throughout this process, keep your children’s best interests as your priority. Avoid speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children, as it can make the situation worse. Consider seeking the guidance of a child psychologist or counselor to help your children cope with the emotional challenges of the situation.

Contact a Dedicated Divorce Attorney

Dealing with visitation interference can be a frustrating and emotionally draining experience. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this difficult situation alone. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide the guidance and support necessary to ensure that the welfare of your children remains the main focus.

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