Sticking with ordered custody arrangements post divorce or separation can be a challenge sometimes. Things come up, and every now and then there may be need to be flexible with parenting plans. This, however, is very different than one parent purposely interfering with the other’s scheduled parenting time. Doing so will, understandably, lead to a custody dispute — one that parents in Massachusetts may have to go to court to resolve.

What is parental time interference? This occurs when one parent actively tries to or succeeds in disrupting the other parent’s allotted time with his or her children. Depending on the actions taken by the offending parent, this may be considered a criminal offense.

There are two types of interference: direct and indirect. Direct interference means that one parent is taking actions that physically prevent a child from seeing his or her other parent. Such actions include taking a child without permission, refusing to return a child, canceling visitation days or failing to drop off a child per the custody schedule. Indirect interference is a little more subtle in nature and often involves disrupting communication — such as not allowing children to accept phone calls from the other parent.

Sadly, interfering with parenting plans occurs quite frequently. When it does, and the parents cannot come to agreeable solutions on their own, it may be necessary to seek court intervention. Potential remedies that may be available to parents in Massachusetts who are dealing with this sort of custody dispute include seeking custody order modifications, seeking make-up parenting time or even requesting to have the offending parent held in contempt. An experienced family law attorney can assist parents in taking the actions best suited for their specific circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, “Parenting Time Interference“, Accessed on Oct. 31, 2016