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What can I do if I feel my parenting rights are violated?

We don't think it's very likely that a parent would look back on a relationship with their children and express regret that they spent too much time with the kids. If anything, the opposite is bound to be more likely. Time with those we love, especially our children, is precious. And that very often serves to cause friction when parents are trying to develop workable parenting plans.

Divorcing and unwed fathers in Texas can face particular challenges when fighting for equitable time with children. And additional challenges can be faced if a father begins to feel that his rights under the established agreement are being interfered with. There are legal remedies available.

Regarding how to deal with interference issues, it starts by being able to identify it when it happens.

There are basically two forms that interference can take. There is direct interference. A common display of it is when one parent physically prevents contact between a child and the other parent. Parental kidnapping would be an example. But failing to drop off a child at an appointed time and place or unilaterally canceling scheduled time could also constitute interference. Missed child support is no excuse for interfering with the plan.

Indirect interference is more subtle, but no less a violation of parental rights. It might include one parent's efforts to disrupt communications between a child and the other parent. If one parent blocks the other from attending or participating in a child's school functions or activities, that could be an issue. Having a child "spy" on the other parent could also amount to interference, too.

Remedies that courts might be requested to employ to counter findings of interference include:

  • Changing parental time orders, either temporarily or permanently
  • Granting make-up time for the wronged parent
  • Fining and requiring the offending parent to pay for court costs and possibly counseling

In cases of extreme interference, arrest and incarceration are possible. In Texas, interference could result in an offending parent facing felony charges.

So, fathers can take heart knowing that the rule of law is available. Whether it may apply, though, depends on the specifics of a given case. An attorney can help make the assessment.

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