Pennsylvania courts take parenting time orders seriously. When a parent fails to uphold his or her end of the agreement or order or interferes with the other parent’s parenting time rights, the court may take several remedial actions. Interfering with the other parent’s parenting time may result in the court ordering make-up parenting time, changing the custody order or issuing fines. In some cases, interfering with parenting time could result in an arrest and imprisonment. Parents who fail to exercise their parenting time may also face penalties. Courts might order supervised visits, counseling or mediation.
Types of parenting time interference and failure
There are multiple ways in which a custodial parent might interfere with the other parent’s right to parenting time, including the following:
• Refusing to drop the child off for scheduled visits
• Canceling scheduled visits
• Preventing the other parent from seeing the child
• Preventing the other parent from attending school activities
• Speaking badly about the other parent to the child
• Manipulating the child so that he or she does not want to see the other parent
• Moving with the child to another state without the court’s permission
Parenting time failure occurs when a parent who has parenting time fails to exercise it. Some examples of parenting time failure include not showing up for parenting time or continually showing up late, canceling parenting time days, not showing up to a child’s extracurricular activities, or moving out of state without the court’s permission.
Tracking interference or failure
When a parent is interfering with parenting time or failing to exercise it, the other parent should keep careful track. That parent should write down the dates, times, and what occurred. He or she should also document any communications that have taken place with the other parent. The other parent may want to talk to an experienced family law attorney who might file a motion with the court and seek to have the order modified or enforced.