One of the matters that is often resolved in a Massachusetts divorce case that involves children is the amount of parenting time each party will be entitled to. Even after an order has been entered, disagreements could arise between the parents, resulting in parenting time interference. This involves one parent interrupting the other’s time with the children, and the disruption may in some cases be considered a criminal offense.
Parenting arrangements are not always formal, but having the court approve them helps the parents enforce their rights if a dispute arises. Interference with parenting time could occur indirectly or directly. Indirect parenting time interference may involve one parent disrupting the other parent’s communication with the children by refusing to let the children accept phone calls from the parent or preventing the other parent from becoming involved in school events or extracurricular activities. Other forms of indirect interference include one parent asking the kids to report on the other parent’s personal life, trying to persuade or force the children to refuse to visit with the other parent or belittling the other parent.
Direct parenting time interference may also take several forms. One parent, for example, could take the children without permission to keep them from seeing the other parent. The parent may breach the court order and move to another state with the kids, refuse to return the children, or fail to drop them off at a scheduled visitation time. In some situations, one parent might try to prevent the other from seeing the kids because that parent is late in the payment of child support.
Both mothers and fathers have the right to parenting time with their children when their agreements receive court approval. Those who believe that their former spouses are interfering with their parenting time could obtain the assistance of a family law attorney in preparing and filing a petition with the court to enforce the order.