Although everyone hopes their child custody situation is always going to be smooth and calm, the reality is that hurt feelings, old grievances, or just someone’s whims can cause the whole process to be interrupted.
In some cases, this includes visitation interference, either on the part of the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent.
Here’s what visitation interference is, and what you can do about it if you experience it.
What Is Visitation Interference?
Visitation interference occurs when one parent obstructs the visitation schedule of the other parent. This can take a few different forms, including:
- Refusing to make the child available for the other parent’s parenting time
- Requesting frequent, unnecessary schedule changes that impact the other parent’s parenting time
- Making demands on the child’s time while they’re with the other parent
- Refusing the other parent reasonable access to the other parent on their own parenting time, such as denying phone calls
- Interfering with the other parent’s time, such as requiring frequent phone calls with the child
- Saying or doing things to turn the child against the other parent, causing them to not want to spend time with the other parent
- Removing the child from their home state without the permission or knowledge of the other parent
As you can see from the above, visitation interference can run the gamut from fairly minor (refusing phone calls) to harmful and insidious (attempts at parental alienation), and even kidnapping. It can be perpetrated by the custodial parent against the non-custodial parent, or vice versa.
What Can You Do About Visitation Interference?
What can and should be done about visitation interference depends on the severity of the offense.
In the case of a child being taken out of the country without the custodial parent’s knowledge, or the non-custodial parent refusing to return the child when their parenting time is up, police involvement may be necessary. You also may need to go to court to get an emergency custody order.
However, for many visitation interference issues, simply setting up a meeting with a mediator to discuss the situation and come to a new agreement that’s then taken to the court for approval could be all that’s necessary.
Whatever route you feel you need to take, it’s essential to keep all logs of phone calls, text and social media messages, and emails between you and the other parent regarding the visitation interference. It can also be helpful to keep a log of incidents that occur in case you need to prove that there’s a larger pattern at work that may need court interference.
Because visitation interference can be complicated, it’s often advisable to work with an experienced child custody attorney who can help you understand what your rights are and advocate for you and your child’s best interests if necessary.
Child Custody Lawyers in Maryland
At the Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado, we have years of experience working with families at all stages of the child custody process. Our team can help you get the answers to the questions you have and serve as your fiercest advocate in court. Schedule your consultation today!