Custodial Interference

What Are the Basics of Custodial Interference?

There are a number of reasons why a parent may interfere with the custodial rights of their child’s other parent. If the child is in danger, a parent may intentionally interfere with custody in order to protect him or her from the abusive or neglectful co-parent. If a parent is spiteful, he or she may interfere with custodial rights out of malice. Sometimes, a parent may simply get so wrapped up in his or her own surroundings that unintentional interference occurs. At its most basic, custodial interference occurs when one parent interferes with the legally recognized custodial rights of another parent. Regardless of the reason that it occurs, it should generally be treated as a serious and urgent matter.

Is Custodial Interference Ever Okay?
While it may be legally permissible to interfere with the custodial rights of an abusive or neglectful co-parent on a very temporary basis in order to protect a child, parents struggling with this reality should generally consult an attorney as soon as is possible. The last thing that a parent in that situation needs is to be viewed by the court as behaving in contempt of standing orders or contributing to parental alienation. Speaking with an attorney about a safety-related situation is critical, as is speaking with law enforcement if a child is in immediate danger.

Absent extraordinary circumstances, custodial interference is generally unacceptable behavior and may result in serious legal consequences. Parents interested in modifying their child’s current custody arrangements in order to better reflect the best interests of an affected child may benefit from speaking with a child custody lawyer, about their situation.

Child Custody Assistance Is Available

If you have questions about custodial interference or are being affected by this kind of behavior, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced family law attorney at your earliest possible convenience. Literature related to child custody matters tends to focus a great deal of attention on the best interests of the child standard. This is understandable, as this standard is applied in all contested American custody matters. However, it is also important to remember that parents are granted rights under the law as well. Their relationships with their children are generally protected unless they voluntarily give up their rights or a court determines that such a relationship would endanger a specific child’s best interests.

Unless a court has taken away your custodial rights or you have voluntarily surrendered them, you are entitled to both exercise them and have them respected. Similarly, if your co-parent retains custodial rights, these rights will remain protected unless a voluntary modification of these rights is agreed upon or you formally ask the court to take these rights away. Custodial interference is serious business and should not be treated lightly by either parent affected by the situation. If you have questions about how to properly respond to such interference or about how to protect your child without being charged with custodial interference, please consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.