Going through the divorce process is difficult enough, what can make matters even worse is that it may cause animosity between the two spouses. In situations like this, if children are involved, the children actually end up suffering the most from the couple’s inability to be civil.
For example, one parent may choose an option that really is in the best interest of the child, but the other parent will stand in the way of that simply because they cannot allow their former spouse to have any kind of control. This type of behavior is not only selfish, but if it is interfering with a declared divorce decree there may be some serious consequences.
Custodial Interference: Causes and Repercussions
There are several reasons that a parent may start to become disruptive in a child custody case or even after there has already been an agreement of custody and/or parenting time. Often times this is because they believe that they were either given too little amount of child custody and want to take matters into their own hands. Another popular reason is because they simply don’t want the other parent to get what they want.
Both situations are selfish and unfair to the child, potentially causing an extreme amount of harm. Children of divorce are statically at a disadvantage, typically facing more psychological, emotional and physical issues than children with married parents. According to (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment, Sage Publications, 1988) children of divorce are even more likely to face physiological issues than children that lost a parent to death.
What You Can Do to Help
Many people will go to the police department seeking help, but law enforcement officials are usually quite apprehensive about getting involved in disputes like this unless ordered by a judge to do so. Regardless of how law enforcement handles this kind of case, the truth is that this is against the law. A judge has ordered a certain amount of time to be spent with each parent and if one parent is standing in the way of that then they are breaking the law.
Contact an Attorney
The first place you always want to begin is with your attorney. If you didn’t work with a divorce attorney or are looking to work with a different one, contact us as soon as possible so that we can help.
Your attorney will notify the court then the court will contact the attorney of your spouse and tell their lawyer to inform your spouse that any further action of this nature could result in them losing custody of the children all together. This is a form of kidnapping in many courts, and they will take this action quite seriously.
Call the Police Department
If this is a situation where it is occurring on the weekend or at nighttime, then you need to contact the police department. Even if they are unwilling to do anything to assist you in having your child or children leave with you, it is important to have that police report. Documentation is your friend in the situation, and the more supporting evidence you have the better off you will be.
Here is a list of contact information for the various police departments in the greater phoenix area:
- Phoenix Police Department
- Scottsdale Police Department
- Tempe Police Department
- Chandler Police Department
- Mesa Police Department
- Glendale Police Department
- Gilbert Police Department
The thing to consider is no matter how this matter is resolved, at some point, you are going to be back in court. If you have police reports of how you tried to get your children but your spouse did not turn them over to you, this is powerful evidence.
How to File Custodial Interference Charges
What you may be forced to do is file something referred to as a motion to enforce the existing custody order. Working with your attorney, you petition the court to have the judge hold a hearing where he or she informs both parties that they need to follow the guidelines of the child custody order. Failure to do so is seen as contempt of court, and your spouse can even go to jail if he or she refuses to abide by the order.
You should understand that the court does not have to rule in your favor, they will make the decision based on the evidence and actions they have seen. This is where your documentation comes into play. The more proof you have that this kind of obstruction is occurring, the better off you are going to be. Courts don’t like to see their orders ignored and if the police can support your claims, this is going to go a whole lot better for you.
Important Things to Note
The most important thing is not to take the law into your own hands. If your former spouse is interfering in your right to see your children, don’t just take them. While it may be frustrating and may seem slow at times, it is important that you follow the proper court procedures.
The best thing you can do in a situation like this is consult an attorney. Your attorney can advise you and help you every step of the way to ensure that if you are required to appear at a motion hearing, you have the proper documentation and arguments to ensure a victory in that hearing.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.