Parents who choose to divorce face many challenges, from property division issues to child custody and parenting disagreements. Often, child custody and parenting conflicts can cause tension long after a divorce finalizes, so it is important to create strong agreements that protect parents' and children's rights properly.
Protecting your own rights as a parent is one of the most crucial aspects of any divorce. The decisions reached in the divorce process may impact your relationship with your children for the rest of your life, and theirs. As you build your divorce strategy and determine your priorities, make sure to use high-quality legal resources and guidance to protect your rights and those of the ones you love.
The parenting agreement
A parenting agreement outlines the responsibilities and privileges of each parent, helping divorcing couples create a plan that meets their child's needs while protecting their own rights and preferences. Unfortunately, some parents choose to ignore parenting agreements, or see them as a loose suggestion of how they should behave.
Many parents do not realize that violating the rights of their child's other parent may result in legal consequences, depending on the severity of the violation and other factors. Typically, courts classify these violations as either direct or indirect parenting time interference.
Direct interference occurs when one parent deprives another parent of their court-approved time with their child. Often, this means that one parent does not hold up their end of the parenting agreement, failing to transfer their child to the other parent at an agreed upon time. Practically speaking, few parents can follow a custody order perfectly all the time — sickness, dangerous weather or other transportation problems affect all of us from time to time, after all. However, courts may punish a parent who repeatedly disobeys a parenting plan, removing privileges, ordering mandatory make-up time or potentially handing own criminal charges.
Indirect interference does not steal time from another parent, but refers to behavior that undermines the relationship between a parent and child. Courts may take issue with a parent who speaks negatively about the other parent in front of the child, a parent who refuses to give a child gifts from the other parent or a parent who refuses to allow the child to communicate with the other parent on the phone or through other messaging services.
Protect your rights and defend them
As you build your parenting plan or review the plan you have already, be sure that you understand the protections that your agreement offers and the behavior that a court may not approve of.
If you believe that your child's other parent violated the rights laid out in your parenting agreement, make sure to use strong legal tools to keep these rights secure, for your sake and for the sake of your relationship with your child.