Although children can be resilient, they can also be extraordinarily fragile. That’s why New Jersey’s family law courts and the state’s laws are so focused on protecting children’s best interests when custody disputes arise. And while this includes assessing everything from parents’ financial stability to their physical and mental health, the court typically also analyzes each parent’s ability and willingness to foster an effective co-parenting relationship.
The importance of co-parenting
Why is effective co-parenting so important? There are many benefits to strong co-parenting. To start, it provides your child with a sense of stability and can foster the routine and consistent expectations that your child needs. It can also strengthen your family’s dynamics, thereby enriching your child’s life.
The sad reality is that far too many of these co-parenting relationships turn out to be problematic. Many of these instances are attributable to parental interference.
What is parental interference?
Parental interference occurs when one parent intentionally violates an existing custody order or visitation arrangement in hopes of limiting the other parent’s access to the child. Sometimes this interference is very direct, such as by withholding visitation even though it has been ordered by the court.
In other instances, the interference is indirect. For instance one parent may limit or eliminate phone contact, withhold information about school events and medical appointments, and talk negatively about the other parent in front of the child so as to warp the child’s perception of that parent. A parent may even try to have the child spy on the other parent and report back about what is discovered. This often happens when the other parent is in a new relationship.
The impact of parental interference
Parental interference can be extremely harmful to your child and your relationship. Your child could be psychologically damaged because they are led to believe that you don’t want to be a part of their life, and the bond that you shared with your child can quickly be torn to shreds. All of this can lead to drastic changes in your child’s daily life. Anxiety and depression may set in, and your child could end up exhibiting behavioral problems and poor school performance.
What can you do about parental interference?
If you suspect that parental interference is occurring, then you need to consider taking legal action in the form of a custody modification. This motion can seek to restructure visitation, or you may even seek physical custody of your child. What you request is going to depend on the circumstances of your case and the sort of arrangement that you think is best for your child.
As you prepare to head to court to argue your motion, though, you’re going to need evidence to back up your claims. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you’re keeping track of all instances of parental interference, any communications that you’ve had with the other parent about the issue, and how the interference has affected you and your child.
Do you need help building your case for modification?
Your child’s best interests are on the line when parental interference is occurring. That’s why you need to be diligent and aggressive as you build your case. If you think that you could benefit from assistance in crafting your legal arguments, then you may want to consider discussing the facts of your situation with an experienced legal professional. Hopefully then you can rest assured that you’re doing everything you can to protect your child.