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What are the Legal Consequences of Custodial Interference?


Custodial interference occurs when a non-custodial parent attempts to disrupt the custody rights of his or her child’s other parent. When these disruptions are deemed severe, the offending parent could face serious legal repercussions, including the placing of limitations on visitation. To learn more about custodial interference, including what to avoid or how to hold a former partner accountable for disrupting a custody arrangement, please contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing lawyer for advice.

What is Custodial Interference?

In Florida, parents have the right to visitation with their children (with the exception of cases involving abuse or domestic violence). These rights are legally enforceable, so if one parent attempts to interfere with those rights he or she could face serious consequences, including being held in contempt of court. Custodial interference can take a number of different forms, but most often involves:

  • Refusing to release a child back to his or her other parent;
  • Limiting contact with a child’s other parent through phone contact or computer usage;
  • Convincing a child to cancel visits with the other parent; or
  • Visiting during the other parent’s scheduled time with the child without permission.

If your child’s other parent has engaged in this type of conduct on a regular basis, he or she could face legal consequences. Please call our office today to learn more.

Examples of Valid Custodial Interference

Not all custodial interference is against the law. Parents are, for instance, allowed to interfere with a current custody arrangement if:

  • They believe that their actions are necessary to protect their child from danger;
  • They believe that interference is necessary to protect their child from being exposed to domestic violence; or
  • The child asked to be removed without enticement from the other parent.

There are a variety of actions that person can take to interfere with a custody arrangement that are in a child’s best interests. Besides protecting a child from his or other parent, for example, a person could disregard a custody arrangement if inclement weather makes driving or another form of transportation too dangerous. Similarly, a previously held agreement can justify the disruption of a standard custody arrangement. These are examples of valid custody-related interferences, which the law cannot usually inhibit.

What to do in Response to Custodial Interference

When one parent wrongfully interferes with another parent’s custody rights, that individual has a few different options, including petitioning the court to alter the custody arrangement. This is an especially popular option in cases where the interference in question is a constant or repeated problem. Alternatively, a wronged parent could seek the aid of law enforcement, which could involve the detainment or even the arrest of the other party if there is a risk of kidnapping or violence. Many parents also attempt to use mediation to communicate with a former partner and reach an out-of-court agreement on custody-related modifications.

Legal Support for Custodial Interference

If your child’s other parent is violating your custodial rights, please call experienced visitation and parenting-time lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your legal options. A member of our team can be reached at 954-945-7591 or via online message.

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