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Legal Options When a Parent Interferes with Custody or Visitation

CA family lawyerWhen parents decide to end their marriage and get divorced, their divorce decree will include the decisions made about child custody and visitation, including the rights both parents have in making decisions regarding how their children will be raised and schedules for the time that children will spend with each parent. The decree serves as a court order, and parents are required by law to follow its terms. Unfortunately, situations often occur in which one parent interferes with the other parent’s custodial rights or parenting time. In these cases, it is important for parents to understand their options for enforcing their custody order.

Enforcement of Court Orders

Interference with custody or visitation can occur in a variety of ways. One parent may not inform the other about children’s medical treatments or educational needs, or they may fail to consult with the other parent when making important decisions. A parent may refuse to allow the other parent to spend visitation time with their children, possibly because there is a dispute about the payment of child support. In the worst cases, a parent may abduct their child, taking them away from the other parent and cutting off communication.

If your ex-spouse has violated the terms of your divorce decree, you may be able to file a petition asking to have them held in contempt of court. A contempt of court finding can have serious consequences, including fines, court-ordered counseling, or modification of the custody order to restrict a parent to supervised visitation with their children.

If a parent abducts a child, they may also face criminal prosecution. Withholding or concealing a child in a way that maliciously deprives a parent of their legal right to custody or visitation can be charged as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000, or a felony, which is punishable by 16 months to three years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Contact a Los Gatos, CA Family Law Attorney

If your ex-spouse is interfering with your visitation time or refusing to follow your child custody order, it is important to work with a skilled attorney who can help you protect your rights and understand your best options for enforcement. The Law Offices of Benita Ventresca can address your concerns, help you file contempt actions, and, if necessary, work with law enforcement to ensure that court orders are followed or resolve issues related to child abduction. Contact a Los Gatos child custody lawyer at 408-395-8822 to arrange a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=278.5.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/1188.htm

 

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Los Gatos, CA 95030

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