Adjusting to sharing custody takes time after a divorce is finalized and a custody agreement is made official. Parents who previously lived in a home with their children must get used to seeing them for a small period of time that is ordered by the court. While parents are encouraged to work together to make sure the interests of their children are met, there are times when one parent will let personal feelings influence the way he or she talks about the non-custodial parent. It is possible for a custodial parent to sabotage the parenting time of the other parent while undermining his or her ability to co-parent effectively.
Being aware of common signs that your ex-spouse is sabotaging your parenting time gives you a chance to react and contact your attorney before too much damage is done.
It is possible for an ex-spouse to sabotage parenting time in indirect ways that are hard to initially recognize as interference. One of the most common ways that an ex-spouse can interfere with parenting time is by disrupting your ability to communicate with your child. The other parent may prevent your child from talking to you by refusing to give the child the telephone when you call or by taking your child’s mobile phone to keep him or her from sending text messages. Parents may also intercept emails, social media messages, and other methods of communication to prevent your child from talking to you except during court-ordered visitation time.
Barring the Non-Custodial Parent from Attending Activities
If your child participates in extracurricular activities like football, cheerleading, soccer, theater, or choir, he or she will often have events outside of school hours that family members are encouraged to attend. An ex-spouse who is attempting to sabotage or otherwise interfere with parenting time will do everything possible to prevent the other parent from attending. He or she may tell the child to not mention the activity to their non-custodial parent or tell the former spouse not to attend. In some extreme situations, the parent may contact the school and ask them to prevent the ex-spouse from entering an event if they are seen. Not only do these actions negatively impact the other parent’s ability to co-parent effectively, they also impact the child’s relationship with the other parent by making the child feel as if that parent is not interested in attending extracurricular activities.
Making Disparaging Comments
Though one or both parties might feel resentment after a divorce, the children should not be brought into ongoing disputes or placed in the middle of the situation. One way that a parent may sabotage an ex-spouse is by making disparaging comments in front of the children. Occasionally a child may overhear something that a parent says, but that is far different than purposefully making harsh comments about a parent when speaking to a child directly. Children often take criticism of their parents personally, and in addition to making a child uncomfortable, frequent disparaging comments can damage a child’s self-esteem. During a divorce, it is not uncommon for a judge to order that neither party make disparaging comments directly to their children or on social media in reference to their former spouse, but after a divorce, a parent may adopt the habit of insulting the ex-spouse anyway.
Contacting an Attorney
If you have noticed changes in your child such as a reluctance to come to your home for visitations or a sudden lack of communication, a skilled family law attorney who has experience with child visitation can help you determine if your former spouse is sabotaging your parenting time. The compassionate child custody and visitation attorneys at Vayman and Teitlebaum are able to help you during this time by providing you with the representation you deserve. With four offices located throughout the Atlanta Metro area, we are able to provide you with the assistance you need. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to discuss your situation and schedule a consultation.