Most parents love their children fiercely, meaning they’d do anything for them. However, many splits aren’t on amicable terms. Continued disputes can lead parents to do things like interfering with their co-parent’s custody of their shared child.
Custodial interference is illegal and can adversely impact your rights to your child. This is why it’s critical that you understand what actions rise to the level of custodial interference so that you don’t unintentionally put yourself in a position to lose custody.
What constitutes custodial interference?
There are a few different situations that may rise to the level of custody interference. Some of the more common include failing to:
- Return your child to your co-parent on previously agreed-to days or times.
- Pay child support because you’re uncomfortable with the amount or want to secure more custodial time with your child.
- Consult with your co-parent on educational, religious or medical decisions regarding your child (provided your parenting plan calls for that).
The factors described above are just three examples of potential instances of custodial interference. Most any situation in which a parent takes proactive measures to prevent their co-parent from seeing their child or violating a court order regarding them may constitute custody interference. However, doing so because you are concerned about their health or safety may be an exception to the rule.
What happens if a parent engages in custodial interference?
Judges have wide discretion when imposing penalties in custodial interference cases. They may order a garnishment of a parent’s wages if they fail to make ordered child support payments. They may also order that a parent’s driver’s license be suspended until they make overdue support payments. A judge may also deprive a parent of custody for repeated violations of their court orders.
The best way to handle disagreements about child custody or support is not by interfering in a way that would violate court orders. You should carefully weigh your concerns, consider negotiating an alternate settlement with your ex, and, if warranted, requesting a modification hearing in your case. Failing to pay what’s due or not complying with your custody agreement could lead to serious problems.