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Can one parent cancel the other’s parenting time?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Family Law

It is difficult to compromise when it comes to spending time with one’s own children. As such, divorced and separated parents often (understandably) struggle to divide parenting time. It is natural for both adults to want as much time with the children as possible and to resent how the relationship that the other has with the children ultimately results in a reduction of their total parenting time.

Once the parents either agree to a specific custody plan or the courts finalize a custody order, both adults have to respect those arrangements. They typically need to follow the proposed schedule for parenting time to the best of their abilities. Some minor adjustments are all but inevitable, as families never know when a child might fall ill or need to travel because their softball team made the playoffs.

Can one parent decide to cancel the time that the other should have with their children because of changing family circumstances?

Cancellations should lead to rescheduling

If one parent cancels their own time with the children because they are sick or need to take a trip for work, their ability to reschedule depends on the other parent. If they have maintained a positive relationship, their co-parent might agree to allow them to reschedule their missed time with the children.

However, if the relationship has become contentious, a co-parent might refuse to allow make-up parenting time when someone must cancel or shorten their parenting session. The parent denied time with the children might have a right to demand a rescheduled session if the other parent made the decision to cancel.

If one parent constantly schedules appointments or allows the children to plan social events during the other’s parenting time, that could lead to alienation if left unchecked. Typically, someone who does not agree to cancel their parenting time should have an opportunity to reschedule that time later to ensure they have appropriate access to their children.

If someone repeatedly cancels parenting time and does not allow their co-parent to reschedule, that could give rise to claims of custodial interference or even parental alienation. The more frequently one parent interferes in the other’s time with the children, the easier it may be to convince the courts to grant someone make-up parenting time or enforce the existing custody order.

Those who are dealing with combative co-parents may need assistance handling contentious custody issues in Texas that could affect their parental rights. Learning more about the rules that apply in co-parenting scenarios can help those frustrated by their current circumstances to make more informed decisions about their rights and options.