Interference With Child Custody in Michigan

One of the hardest parts of divorcing for any couple sharing children is determining child custody. In most cases, both parents are keen to spend as much time with their children as possible, and in a contentious situation involving joint custody, both parties might feel like they’re not getting the amount of parenting time they deserve.

Whether a parent feels he/she is due more time with children than the court grants, or he/she is simply acting vengefully, it’s possible that one parent could begin to interfere with the child custody arrangement set forth by the court. What constitutes interference, and what can the other parent do to protect custodial rights that are being trampled?

What is Interference?
Interference is basically a failure to follow the specifications of the child custody arrangement. This could mean failing to pick up or drop off kids as prescribed by the agreement, but there are certain parameters involved. There are three main factors that determine interference in child custody cases in Michigan:

  • First and foremost, there must be an existing legal order (i.e. custody arrangement) regarding custody or parenting time, and then,
  • One parent must detain children from the custodial parent for a period of 24 hours or more
  • and/or One parent must have an intent to detain children from the custodial parent

There are several potential situations in which interference could occur. Keeping kids from the custodial parent for 24 hours or more in defiance of a legal custody arrangement is one way, but if one parent is consistently late picking up and dropping off kids, showing a pattern of behavior in defiance of the custody arrangement, this too could qualify as interference as it shows an intent to interfere with the other parents custodial rights.

Just to be clear, occasionally dropping off a child late is not considered interference. This would be considered an understandable infraction since it could be accounted for by factors other than intent, such as traffic or simply losing track of time, just for example. Intent can be an important factor in determining interference, which is where consistent, habitual lateness that deprives the custodial parent of parenting time comes into play.

What Can You Do?
As it turns out, you can do a lot. In the state of Michigan, interference with child custody is more than a mere annoyance – it’s a crime. When one parent is found to have intentionally disrupted the agreed-upon parenting time in violation of the terms of the agreement, legal consequences could follow, including changing the terms of the agreement to favor the non-offending parent, just for example.

As a parent, you never want to try to deal with interference on your own. You can report incidents to the friend of the court assigned to your case, in order to request enforcement of the custody arrangement. In extreme cases, where kidnapping is suspected, for example, you can always call the police for immediate assistance.

You should probably start, however, by contacting a qualified attorney at The Gucciardo Law Firm for legal advice and assistance. Call 248-723-5190 now to find out what you can do to deal with child custody interference the right way.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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