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What's custodial interference?

Imagine thinking you're going to pick up your child at 7:00 p.m., only to find out that his mother still has him a few hours from home or that you can't come get your child because he is allegedly sick again, for the fifth time in two weeks. If you suspect that the other parent is interfering in your right to see your child, then custodial interference is something you should look into.

What is custodial interference?

Custodial interference comes in a number of forms, from refusing to allow a child to go to his or her parent's home for a scheduled visit to limiting the child's contact with the other parent. Custodial interference isn't always in violation of the law, though. For example, if previous arrangements interrupt scheduled visitation or events outside the parent's control affect when he or she can drop off the child due to weather or other serious conditions, then the interference isn't seen in the same light.

What can you do if your child is being kept away from you by the other parent?

First, talk to your attorney about what's happening. If the parent is interfering with your child custody arrangements and court order, the court can find the parent in contempt. The court can require the parent to allow the child to make up the missed visitation times and even order family therapy or mediation. If a more severe intervention is needed, then you may request supervised visitation, restrictions on the other parent's custody rights or visitation rights or ask to have transfers at neutral locations. The court can fine a parent who does not obey the court order. Parents who violate court orders can also be charged with misdemeanors or felonies in some cases.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is Custodial Interference," Aditi Mukherji, JD, accessed Dec. 29, 2016

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