Even after a court rules on the custody rights of each parent following a divorce, one or both parents may choose to interfere with the parenting privileges of the other parent. This can lead to further court actions to remedy the conflict. Courts generally recognize two separate categories of custodial interference, direct and indirect interference.
Direct interference is the most easily quantifiable type. In extreme cases, one parent may choose to physically prevent a child from having access to the other parent. This can involve physically taking a child to a location unknown to the other parent or a location that is inaccessible to the other parent. This can also include refusing to return a child for designated visitation, or failing to rendezvous with the other parent for agreed upon visitation days, or canceling visitation while in physical custody of the child. This is often in conjunction with the non-custodial parent falling behind on child support payments, where one parent will retaliate by refusing to grant visitation time.
In other cases, interference is less obvious. A parent may find ways to keep the child and the other parent from communicating, or attempt to keep the other parent from participating in social functions, school activities, or extracurricular events. A parent may also attempt to use a child to gain information on the other parent’s life or verbally disparage the other parent in the child’s presence. These actions and more can all constitute indirect interference in parental rights in the eyes of the court.
Defending your rights as a parent and fighting to remain a part of your child’s life is a fundamental desire for any parent facing custody struggles. The representation of an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your rights as a parent remain respected.