Normally it is fairly easy to set boundaries when a child is spending time in the home of the “on duty” parent during her/his parenting time (in other words: you stay on your turf, I stay on mine); it is not so clear however, when the child is involved in school or community activities (i.e. neutral turf).
In situations where divorced or unmarried parents share time with a minor child, and there is a Court Order determining a parenting time schedule for a parent and minor child, when does one parent’s time with the child end, and when does the other parent’s begin?

What if the “off duty” parent shows up uninvited (or even invited) to a child’s activity, and overstays his/her welcome, or worse yet, becomes a nuisance? Not so cool, and not so easy.

What can you do?

A court Order for parenting time should be clear enough so that parents are able to determine when the parent is “on duty” or “off duty”; for example, Wednesday evenings with Mom; Thursday evenings with Dad. Also, Minnesota law defines parenting time as the time a parent [note singular, not plural] spends with a child.  See Minn. Stat. Sec. 518.003 subd. 5. What should be clear from a review of the Court Order, and State law, is that parenting time is time spent with one parent and the child; and it is not appropriate for the “off duty” parent to be present during that time without a Court Order expressly granting the right to be present – or – the permission of the “on duty” parent. Uninvited or unauthorized presence during another parent’s parenting time is interference with that parenting time; and can be grounds for the meddling parent to be sanctioned by the Court, which can consist of:

  1. Awarding extra parenting time to the parent whose time was messed with
  2. Making the meddling parent pay a fine to the Court
  3. Making the meddling parent pay court costs and attorney’s fees to the other parent
  4. Taking custody rights away from the meddling parent

See Minn. Stat. Sec. 518.033 subd. 5.

There is help

Parents having difficulty dealing with another parent who consistently “blurs the lines” which delineate parenting time should be aware that there are remedies available to help make that parent “walk the line”! At Clausen & Hassan, we have considerable experience in ensuring that parents need not worry any more than they need to over their separation. Whatever your concern, we are here to help you achieve the peace of mind you deserve. Make our free consultation your first step along the way—connect with our Minnesota Child Custody Lawyers today at 651-647-0087 or reach out via our online contact form.

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