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What is parental interference and are there remedies for it?

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After the finalization of your Nebraska divorce, there will undoubtedly be times when you or your ex is unable to meet the terms and conditions of your shared parenting agreement precisely. Maybe your son's dentist appointment ran over time and you could not drop him off until an hour later than what the parenting plan specifies. Maybe your daughter went for ice-cream with friends after school and your ex brought her by as soon as she got home. The courts expect and allow for interferences such as these, as they are out of either parent's control. However, what the courts do not allow is intentional interference with parenting time by either one of the parents.

According to FindLaw, parental interference occurs when one parent actively disrupts the other's scheduled time with the child. Depending on the extent of the interference, the courts may treat the offense as a criminal or civil matter.

The courts recognize two types of parental interference: direct and indirect. Direct interference can take many forms, the most drastic of which include refusing to return the child to the other parent's custody, taking the child without permission or moving the child out of state without the court's permission. Direct inference may also occur when one party cancels visitation days for no reason or fails to drop the child off at the scheduled time.

Indirect interference may occur when one parent prevents the child from communicating with the other when the child is in his or her custody. For instance, the courts may find a parent guilty of indirect interference if he or she refuses to allow the child to place a phone call to the other parent while in the one parent's custody. Another example of indirect interference may be when one parent prevents the other from participating in the child's extracurricular or school activities. Indirect interference may also occur if one parent encourages an older child to refuse to see the other guardian. 

When a parent commits parental interference, the courts will propose almost any solution they deem fair and appropriate. Some common remedies for parental interference include ordering make-up parenting time, mandating the offender attend counseling for which he or she must pay, imposing fines, attorney fees and court costs and temporarily or permanently altering the custody order. In more extreme cases, a court may order the arrest of an offending parent.

This article is for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice.


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