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Identifying and stopping indirect parenting time interference

When parents choose to raise their children separately, they sometimes have a hard time respecting each other's rights to time with their child. Of course, this is understandable because most parents hate to miss out on key moments in a child's upbringing and want to actively raise their child as they see fit.

As difficult as it often is to accept, parents may have very different approaches to raising a child, or may deeply distrust the intentions or character of the child's other parent. Courts recognize that this tension is common, and expect parents to work together while obeying their custody order. If one parent violates the rights of the other parent, or of a grandparent with legally recognized parenting rights, courts may step in and remove parenting privileges or use other punishments to address the violation.

If you suspect that your child's other parent does not respect your rights and violates them, then it is important to understand the legal tools that you can use to protect yourself and your family. A clear legal strategy can help you focus on useful solutions while keeping your rights secure.

Identifying indirect interference

Indirect parenting time interference does not prevent a parent from spending their rightful time with their child through custody or visitation, but it does undermine the parent's relationship with the child. This type of interference may also occur if one parent prevents the other from communicating with the child.

Courts make it clear that parents must not attempt to influence their child against the other parent, and doing so is illegal. For instance, if one parent tells their child negative things about the other parent or speaks negatively about the other parent in front of the child, this qualifies as indirect interference.

Similarly, instructing the child to report back to them about their time with the other parent may qualify as interference, particularly if this amounts to spying on the other parent.

Some parents may be tempted to undermine the other parent by withholding gifts or letters they give to the child, or by keeping the other parent from speaking to the child on the phone or through mobile device messaging. This also qualifies as indirect interference.

Protecting your parent-child relationship

Not all frustrating behavior by another parent qualifies as interference, and some parents will do everything they can without technically violating any boundaries. If you are unsure whether your experience qualifies as interference, it is useful to document any questionable behavior as soon as you can after it occurs. The more documentation that you collect, the easier it is to see any patterns of behavior that may help you build a strong legal strategy to protect the time you spend with the child you love.

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Robert Schembs
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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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