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Child Custody

The Legal Consequences of Interfering With Child Custody Rights

Michigan courts take child custody rights and orders seriously. No matter whether you are a parent, a relative, or a stranger to a child, depriving a parent of their right to custody over their child is a decision that carries significant consequences. Beyond fines, you could face contempt proceedings and jail or prison in some cases.

Potential Criminal Charges for Interfering With Custody

No matter your relation to a child, interfering with an existing child custody order is a crime. “Interference” includes actions like detaining a child or preventing one parent or the other from exercising their parenting time pursuant to a court order. Committing this crime can result in fines and potential incarceration.

Interference is more than simply dropping your child off for exchanges 10 minutes late on occasion. Failing to return your child for a day or more or consistently being hours late to an exchange can rise to the level of criminal interference.

Furthermore, making attempts to permanently deprive a parent of custody of their child could rise to the level of kidnapping, which is an even more serious felony. Lengthy prison sentences can be imposed if you are convicted of kidnapping, no matter your relation to the child.

Attempting to flee the country with a child in order to keep them from a parent is also a serious crime. Such an action carries with it harsh penalties that could affect the rest of one’s life.

Civil Consequences for Custody Interference

Any violation of a court custody order by any person can subject that person to the court’s civil contempt powers. This includes being assessed a fine or jailed for not following a court’s order.

Parents can be held in contempt for not following custody orders, but others, such as grandparents, relatives, and friends, can also be held in contempt.

Finally, a court has the ability to modify child custody orders at any time if it is clear that doing so is in the child’s best interests. If your child’s other parent is consistently violating custody orders and interfering with your parenting time, you could file a successful motion to modify the existing parenting plan.

Because consistent and generous time with both parents is in your child’s best interests, a court will seriously consider a motion to modify the parenting time or custody orders. This could result in the offending parent receiving less parenting time or having their custody rights suspended completely.

Speak With Gucciardo Family Law About Your Options

Custody orders should be followed, and those parents or individuals who do not follow them can find themselves facing significant penalties and consequences for their decisions. These include fines, incarceration, and modification of custody and visitation orders.

An experienced and knowledgeable Michigan child custody lawyer from Gucciardo Family Law can help you take legal action against a parent or another person who interferes with your custody rights. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to assess your situation.

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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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