Law Offices of Hannah E. Sims, LL.M.
Oakland Certified Family Law Specialist

Custodial interference could qualify for legal action

In most cases, separated parents in California adhere to their child custody schedules. People usually negotiate small temporary changes, such as a parent taking a child on a trip or delaying a transfer because of bad weather, without any trouble. Custodial interference, however, represents purposeful violations of a custody agreement. In those situations, a parent might petition a court to enforce a custody agreement or set up supervised visitation. Reporting a problem to law enforcement could also be necessary in some cases.

When a parent refuses to release a child to the other parent at the scheduled time, custodial interference has occurred. Another example would be when a parent picks up a child from school without the other parent's knowledge or permission. Violations of a custody schedule might only be excused if a parent can show that the child would have been endangered in the care of the other parent.

Family courts typically want parents to resolve their differences outside of court with the aid of attorneys or mediators. When this effort does not succeed or one party refuses to follow the terms of an agreement, then a court could become involved and protect someone's custodial rights.

A parent who wants to know more about child custody law could retain legal counsel. In addition to informing the client about parental rights, an attorney could investigate any other issues that might influence a custody agreement, such as domestic violence, parental relocation or substance abuse. The lawyer could also provide representation during private negotiations to buffer the client from potentially hostile arguments. Once the parents come to terms, the attorney could write the documents for the court.

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