Is Visitation, or Parenting Time, Interference a Crime?
Visitation interference or interfering with parenting time occurs when a one parent refuses to let the other parent spend court-ordered time with their child. This can include failing to drop a child off for visitation, refusing to allow the other parent to pick the child up, making sure the child is not at home or at the designated meeting place, or cancelling visitation. In a few states it is a felony. Even in states that do not have a criminal statute specifically making visitation interference a crime, violation of a court order can result in jail time for contempt of court.
In some cases, there is a good explanation for a missed visit. For instance, if the other parent had car trouble on the way to drop off your child. If it is a routine occurrence, the first step is to talk to the other parent to determine what the problem is and if there is a solution that works for both of you. Sometimes a scheduling conflict with work or other obligations is at the heart of the matter and some simple adjustments can put an end to it as well as easing tensions.
When visitation interference is an intentional attempt to keep you from seeing your child, or if you cannot reach a solution, it is a more serious matter and you may have to go to court to resolve it. Parents who violate custody orders can face consequences such as:
- Loss of custody
- Jail time
- Suspension of various licenses
- Criminal conviction in some states
If your child is depriving you of your right to court-ordered visitation a child custody attorney can help. Please search this directory for an experienced child custody attorney in your area.