Over the years, child custody has evolved to include an equitable division of parenting time that lets the minor children of a couple spend a time and maintain relationships with both of their parents. Typically, a parenting time agreement in Georgia will include a schedule that shows where minor children reside throughout the week, a division of holidays, and a schedule dividing school breaks between parents. Either parents will work together to create a schedule or the judge hearing the case will make a decision regarding parenting time. Normally, parents will adjust to the schedule, working together for the sake of their children, but occasionally problems occur when one adult begins interfering with the parenting time of his or her former partner.
There are times when your former spouse’s actions will clearly demonstrate interference, but interference can also be subtle. A parent who is trying to work with a former spouse may initially believe that his or her suspicions are nothing to worry about and fail to recognize the first signs that his or her parenting time is being impacted. A parent may begin claiming that his or her child is sick and unable to visit because of the illness or a scheduled doctor’s appointment instead of sharing the parenting of a sick child. Eventually the number of appointments, illnesses, activities, etc. that coincide with the other parent’s visitation time will increase. While it is true that a child’s activities may occur during visitation times, parents who are purposefully interfering with custody can rarely provide documentation or other tangible proof that the child has a legitimate reason for missing court-ordered visitation.
Discussing the Issue
Reasons for a former spouse or partner to interfere with visitation vary, but regardless of why the custodial parent is not allowing the other parent to spend time with the mutual children, that parent must attempt to rectify the problem. If this is happening to you, discuss any documented missed visitation time with your ex and try to come to an understanding regarding avoiding future problems. If possible, ask for additional visitation days to make up for the parenting time you have missed. Flexibility is an important part of co-parenting, and often simply talking about the problem rather than engaging in an argument or confrontation can smooth things over. Hard feelings immediately following a separating or divorce are normal, and with work, the feelings that are leading to the visitation interference may dissipate avoiding future problems.
There are times when talking about a pattern of custodial interference does not resolve the problem. An angry ex who is determined to ignore court-ordered visitation may require more encouragement than a discussion between adults. There are serious repercussions for failing to adhere to a court-ordered parenting time schedule including fines, loss of custody, or even incarceration. Having an attorney send a letter to the custodial parent reminding him or her of the agreement is one way to begin illustrating how serious the situation is.
Protecting Your Rights
If you or someone close to you is experiencing issues with a former partner interfering with parenting time, you must protect your rights. A child custody and visitation attorney is able to provide you with the insight that you need. The aggressive attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to fight to preserve your visitation rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our conveniently located Atlanta area offices.