You Deserve Justice

Can one parent deny a child’s other parenting time after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Child Custody & Support |

Parents who divorce or who never got married in Arkansas may need to negotiate terms for shared custody. The law presumes that shared custody is the best arrangement for a family unless one parent has compelling evidence to the contrary. Parents can typically anticipate receiving both a share of parenting time and a degree of authority regarding important parenting decisions. The best-case outcome in a shared custody scenario is the amicable cooperation of the parents.

However, many families do not achieve that ideal for one reason or another. For example, one parent might intentionally try to interfere in the relationship that the other maintains with the children. Can one parent deny the other time with children when they’re subject to a shared custody order?

Canceled parenting time should usually lead to make-up time

Both parents subject to an Arkansas custody order must make reasonable efforts to uphold the terms set in that document. Arriving on time for custody exchanges and regularly communicating about the needs of the children are necessary components of co-parenting.

If one parent starts withholding information, denying attempts at communication or canceling the other parent’s time with the children, that can quickly damage the relationship one parent has with the children. In a scenario where one parent cancels or shortens the parenting time of the other, they have a reasonable right to request make-up parenting time. Someone who cancels or gives up their own parenting session may not have that right, but someone denied access during scheduled parenting time likely does. If the parent who cancels time with the children does not allow someone to schedule make-up parenting time, then it may be necessary to take steps to enforce a custody order.

The courts dislike parental alienation

Family law judges want to see for the best interests of their children first. Someone who intentionally deviates from a custody order may change how a judge perceives them as a parent. The judge may consider that conduct as a form of parental alienation. A judge can order make-up parenting time or reprimand the non-compliant parent. They might also modify the custody order because they view the attempts at alienation as a sign that one parent does not act in the best interests of the children. Someone facing interference with their parental rights likely needs to keep thorough documentation of what occurs to prevail in court.

Acting in a timely fashion to enforce an Arkansas custody order can help someone preserve their relationship with their children. Parents who know their rights may have an easier time standing up for themselves during a custody dispute.