Whether you negotiated an arrangement with an ex or a judge ordered it, your child custody agreement is rooted in your child’s best interests. You know just how important it is to stick to that agreement. Unfortunately, not all parents feel the same way, including your ex. You need to take action if he or she is interfering with custody.
Custodial interference can be both on purpose and unintentional. This means that it is also possible for you to accidentally interfere with your own custody agreement without even realizing it. For your child’s best interests, here are a few things you should know about the issue.
Keeping a child from the custodial parent
In general, knowingly keeping a child from the person who has legal custody is an act of interference. This can play out in a number of different ways, including when parents share joint physical custody. If your ex refuses to bring your child back when it is your parenting time, he or she is interfering with custody.
Custody interference is not just for divorced parents who already have an agreement in place. When two parents have a child out of wedlock, a father cannot keep the child and deny access to the mother without custodial rights. This is because the mother is the child’s lawful custodian, not the father. It is a good idea to establish paternity and custodial rights soon after a child’s birth to avoid situations like this.
Is it ever OK to interfere with custody?
Sometimes it is necessary to keep your child away from your ex, even if he or she has legal custody. It is usually acceptable to do this after getting an order of protection against the other parent. You can also file a petition that you believe your child would be at risk with his or her other parent.
You cannot simply claim that your ex poses a threat to your child, though. You must demonstrate a reasonable belief that your child’s other parent poses an immediate danger. You can also assert this belief if your ex committed domestic violence against you.
Custodial interference is complicated
Divorce is an emotional process, and parents in particular might struggle to keep those emotions in check when dealing with matters that involve their children. Some parents might even make rash and inappropriate decisions. But feeling emotional is no excuse for purposely violating a custody agreement.
Interfering with custody is a serious violation that can harm a child’s well being. Your child is likely relying on you to take the appropriate steps to protect him or her from this situation. However, Arizona family law can be complicated, and you can easily get discouraged. You should not give up, but instead seek help from an experienced attorney who can guide you through this difficult process.