Divorced parents often have a rough time adjusting to the idea that they have to split their parenting time with their co-parent. Custody disputes are common — but you need to be careful how you handle these issues.
When it comes to custody, you must either abide by your parenting plan or seek a modification in court. Taking issues into your own hands could get you accused with custodial interference — and that could put your own custody and visitation rights in danger.
What are some examples of custody interference?
Custodial interference can take a number of different forms, some more obvious than others. Examples include:
- Not turning a child over for their scheduled visitation time
- Not returning a child at the right time after visitation
- Withholding visitation because of conflicts over child support
- Refusing to allow the child to contact their other parent by phone, email, text or other electronic means
- Withholding messages from the co-parent to their child
- Taking the child out of the state without the other parent’s permission
- Moving with the child to an undisclosed location
- Making unilateral decisions about the child’s school, medical care or other issues in violation of the parenting plan
- Actively trying to break down the relationship between the child and their other parent in some way
Situations like the above-referenced may constitute custody interference. If your co-parent makes an accusation in court that you’ve disrupted their relationship with their child in violation of your parenting plan and the court agrees, the consequences can be very harsh.
What to do if custody issues become contentious
While it’s always preferable to resolve custody issues outside of court, it’s not always possible. When things get hostile between you and your co-parent, it’s often wisest to seek legal counsel as soon as you can.