What Is Visitation Interference And How To Stop It
Visitation is an attempt by the family court system to guarantee that a child of divorce spends adequate time with both parents after separation and divorce. It's best if the parents create a plan that works for the child and that is easy to use for themselves. Even the best of plans, though, can fall apart when the parents allow their personal issues to interfere. Read on to find out what is meant by visitation interference and how to address it.
Both Parents Are Responsible
When visitation is ordered, that means one parent has primary physical custody of the child. The other parent sees the child on a regular schedule, such as every other weekend or so. Legally, both parents are responsible for the child and should work together when parenting issues like education, discipline, and others arise. Both parents are also charged with making the parenting plan work, including facilitating visitation. That means both parents must:
- Encourage the child to spend time with the other parent – even time not specifically ordered.
- Avoid badmouthing the other parent or negatively influencing the child against the other parent in any way.
- Have plenty of open communication about the child's life. Some parents find using shared calendars help keep both parents on the same page when it comes to sporting events, recitals, doctor's appointments, and school holidays. This also means being open about new relationships, job changes, moves, and anything else that might affect the child.
- Ensuring that the child is available for the scheduled visitation and making sure that the parent honors visitation plans.
When Things Go Wrong
Unfortunately, parents that can't get along after the divorce any better than they did during the marriage may find it a challenge to deal with visitation. Children represent extremely emotional issues, and that can give rise to anger, resentment, jealousy, and bitterness. Not only can long-held issues from the marriage begin to pop up, but visitation can seem to create a new set of problems to deal with. It's vital that parents separate petty issues from important ones and take legal action only when necessary. For example, if the other parent allows the child to eat sugar against your wishes, this is not a legal issue. If the child's life is threatened by food choices, it is time to speak to your divorce law attorney. Take action if the following occur, but otherwise try to work things out:
- Proven substance abuse.
- Proven physical abuse.
- Proven mental disorders.
Proof should come in the form of police reports or medical records. Speak to a family law attorney to find out more.