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What is custodial interference?

Custodial interference is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a bit by those going through custody battles. While it is not as common of an occurrence as many people believe, when it does happen it can be serious. It's important for those facing these types of situations to understand what constitutes custodial interference and what they may be able to do about it.

In short, custodial interference is when one parent interferes with the other parent's ability to see the children and be a part of their lives. The most extreme example of this is a parental abduction or refusal to turn the children over for visitation, but most people deal with scenarios that are not nearly this dramatic. Custodial interference could be refusing to let the children talk to the other parent on the phone during parenting times or the custodial parent continually scheduling activities and functions during the noncustodial parents visitation times.

It's also important to understand what custodial interference is not. If your ex is late to pick up or drop off the kids by a few minutes, this does not count as custodial interference. While it may be an annoyance, most custody orders allow for a parent to be up to a half-hour late before it becomes an issue.

If you are unsure whether the issues you are dealing with would count as custodial interference under the law, it's important to talk over the details of your case with a family law attorney. Once you know how the court deals with these types of situations, you can be better prepared to make decisions moving forward.

Source: Findlaw, "Custody or Visitation Interference," accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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