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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Parent-child relationships at risk from custodial interference

Parents in Tennessee may face some of the most difficult aspects of their divorce when dealing with the issue of child custody. In many cases, both parents want to fight hard for more time with their children. Eventually, the custody issue should be resolved with a formal agreement and court order, but unfortunately, some parents refuse to accept the outcome of the child custody decision. These parents might repeatedly attempt to undermine the relationship with the other parent and keep their child away, breaking the parent-child bond over time. This is often referred to as custodial interference, and it can rise to the level of a criminal matter.

Custodial interference happens most frequently as part of an ongoing custody dispute, even after a child custody order is settled. A parent may refuse to hand their child over for scheduled custody time, pick up the child from school while in the other parent's custody or wage a campaign to influence the child to press for a different custody agreement. In some extreme cases, a parent may attempt to leave the area with the child. This kind of interference can damage the parent-child relationship and can also be highly damaging to the emotional well-being of the child.

When one parent refuses to obey the court order for child custody, they can be held accountable for their attempts at custodial interference. This is true whether the custody order in the case is for shared custody, joint custody or even primary custody with visitation.

For parents whose relationships with their children are being put at risk due to the behavior of their former partner, they have options available. Their family law attorney may help them return to family court to seek implementation of the existing order or a modification of the child custody agreement to reflect accountability for custodial interference.

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