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What might interference with child custody look like?

When parents (or other adults) share custody of a child with someone else, communication and complying with court orders are essential responsibilities to ensure the child is safe. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen.

Violations of child custody orders can and do occur in North Carolina. One type of violation can happen when one parent tries to hurt the other parent by disrupting his or her parental rights and time with the child. This is custodial interference, and it can have serious repercussions for a parent.

What interference might look like

As a FindLaw.com article describes, custodial interference can take many forms. Some examples of interference include:

  • Refusing to return a child to the other parent in accordance with a parenting agreement
  • Denying a parent his or her right to visits or parenting time
  • Showing up for visits with the child outside of approved times
  • Prohibiting a child from calling or otherwise contacting the other parent 
  • Attempting to alienate the child from the other parent by speaking badly of him or her
  • Taking a child without permission, whether it is out of the other parent's house or out of the country

Each of these acts can put a child in danger and compromise his or her physical and emotional well-being. 

Potential consequences

Depending on the details of a specific incident, several things could happen in the wake of a custodial interference claim. Some examples of potential consequences include: a parent could face criminal charges; the courts may modify the custody and visitation order; the courts might order counseling; a parent may need to have supervision during visitation; exchanges may need to happen in neutral locations; a parent may have to pay fines or fees.

Resolving issues before they arise

Some parents violate court orders because they are afraid for their child's safety, or they feel the court's ruling was unfair. Some parents fear the other parent is mad enough that he or she will attempt to take a child without permission.

In any of these situations, informing yourself of your rights and the legal options you have to address these concerns before a violation occurs can prevent a lot of trauma. 

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