After spending lots of time and energy negotiating a parenting agreement with your ex, you expect or at least hope that he or she will abide by what they agreed to. Unfortunately this is frequently not the case. Court proceedings end. Life goes on and things change.
Perhaps there was a disagreement about the children or a scheduling conflict with the other parent beginning their overnight parenting that couldn’t be avoided. Now, your ex is making it difficult for you to see your children by passively or actively interfering with your parenting time.
The good news is that parenting plans approved by the court are also orders of the court, meaning your ex can be held accountable before a judge and made to answer for their conduct. The decision whether to spend the time, money, and effort to take legal action varies of course on a case-by case basis.
Signs of parental interference
If you are unsure whether the other parent is making an effort to interfere with your time with the kids, perhaps the following information will help you:
- Your ex may indirectly interfere with your parenting time. For instance, as part of your agreement, you may have scheduled times to talk to your children on the phone or through some other method. Denying you access to the children during these times on a regular basis often constitutes parental interference which is actionable in court.
- Your ex may directly interfere with your parenting time. He or she may be late for drop-off times, cancel a visitation, or refuse to exchange of regular parenting time altogether. When the other parent denies you access to your children. When both parents share legal and physical custody of the children, and absent a safety concern for the children, law enforcement will not usually intervene to enforce a domestic parenting dispute, and will instead refer the parties to the civil/domestic relations court to resolve their issues.
You should know that, if you are the parent paying child support, the other parent may not legally deny you visitation because you haven’t made your payments. Colorado law considers the two issues to be separate matters except to the extent that the amount of parenting time is used to calculate the amount of court-ordered child support parents owe. Other remedies are available for non-payment of child support, such as contempt proceeds or opening a case with your county child support services. But a parent may not in essence as to their position regarding their nonpaying ex of: “No money – no kid”.
You may need court interference
If your attempts to resolve the issue without involving attorneys or the courts fail, you can formerly request through appropriate legal action that the court intervene on your behalf. If the court determines that the other parent interfered with your parenting time, you may receive one or more of the following remedies:
- Change the parenting order
- Order “make-up” visits
- Assess fines, court costs and attorney’s fees
- Jail time for contempt of court
The court may also require the other parent to pay for counseling or other education. If the situation warrants it, the other parent may also end up in jail for a period of time. Jail is typically extreme measure reserved for very egregious violations and behavior such as cases of severe ongoing parental alienation. In this scenario, the alienating parent can be actively or passively working to turn the children against the other parent.
You may need help
You may need legal assistance in order to resolve your situation. In many cases modifying your current custody order resolves the situation and sends a message to non-compliant ex that he or she must follow what has been ordered by the judge or be held accountable. Short of going back to court, mediation may be an option. Both parents and their attorneys may be able to come to an agreement short of court or mediation with which you both are satisfied. If that does not work, your attorney is already aware of the situation and may have already prepared for court as a precaution.
DISCLAIMER (PLEASE READ): The content herein is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All blog posts are for general informational purposes only. For legal advice about your specific legal matter contact and consult with a licensed Colorado attorney.