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Can one parent cancel the other’s parenting time?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Child Custody |

It can take parents quite some time to adjust to sharing time with their children after their romantic relationship ends. Sharing parental rights and responsibilities typically means going several days at a time without seeing the children. Most parents have a difficult time acclimating to arrangements that limit their time with their children.

Whether the terms for sharing parenting time reflect a judge’s order or an agreement that the parents submitted to the courts, upholding those arrangements is mandatory. Both parents should do their best to abide by the parenting time rules outlined in their custody order. Unfortunately, there are some people who use their children as a weapon against a co-parent. They may try to interfere in a co-parent’s time with the children. Others may try to interfere with the other’s time in an attempt to protect their kids.

Can one parent simply cancel the parenting time of the other?

Canceling parenting time may be inappropriate

According to the standard language used in parenting plan documents, both parents should follow the plan to the best of their ability. That includes adhering to a set schedule. If one parent proposes a change to that schedule, the other parent has the authority to agree or deny that request.

One parent cannot unilaterally make the decision to cancel the other’s parenting time. If one parent attempts to cancel the other’s time with the children or repeatedly shortens their parenting time, they may need to document each incident to take enforcement action.

Provided that someone can show a pattern of interference, they could ask a family law judge to enforce their custody order. The courts could grant someone make-up parenting time for their canceled parenting sessions. The judge also potentially has the authority to modify a parenting plan in consideration of one parent’s consistent interference in the rights of the other.

Sometimes, issues arise that could require spontaneous adjustments to the parenting schedule. Agreeing to reschedule parenting time could be an appropriate response to an attempt to cancel a day with the children or an overnight visit.

One parent should not attempt to undermine the terms set in a parenting plan in a shared custody situation. Those who understand Pennsylvania’s approach to child custody matters can use that information to advocate for their most important relationships effectively, whether they’re trying to protect their kids or simply enforce their own rights.