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Can one parent refuse to let the other spend time with the children?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2023 | Child Custody

When parents decide to separate from one another, they often still have to communicate with and see each other frequently. Regular custody exchanges are a necessity for most families with minor children when co-parents are no longer in a romantic relationship.

Most Pennsylvania parents comply with the terms set forth in a parenting plan or custody order. They meet as scheduled, communicate about decisions regarding their children and otherwise work to support the children’s healthy development.

Unfortunately, some people cannot put the needs of their children above their own emotions and will intentionally interfere in the relationship that a co-parent has with their shared children. One parent may try to diminish the other’s time with the children by canceling parenting sessions or complicating the schedule. They may make up excuses or be totally transparent about their efforts to push the other out of the children’s lives. As a result, it is important to understand what happens when one parent in a shared custody arrangement interferes with the other parent’s rightful access to their shared children.

The courts can enforce the custody order

The family courts have the authority to compel people into action or to hold them accountable for contempt of court. When one parent does not abide by the terms specifically outlined in the custody order, the other can ask the courts for enforcement.

Custody enforcement could lead to allegations of contempt of court and someone’s arrest. A judge could also potentially alter the parenting plan to increase the access of the parent who has been denied time with the children. They could also order additional parenting time to make up for the canceled sessions. The specific actions of the parent interfering with the other’s relationship will determine the best response to such issues in family court proceedings.

Parents seeking support need documentation

A parent who hopes to improve their custody circumstances through enforcement actions will first need proof of what the other parent has done. Keeping thorough records of denied visitation, shortened parenting sessions and refused communication attempts will help those trying to show a pattern of interference or attempts at alienation.

Learning more about the parental rights that come with shared custody agreements in Pennsylvania can benefit those who are currently navigating a custody dispute. Seeking legal guidance can be very helpful as well.