In Toms River and throughout New Jersey, the breakdown of a family can be traumatic and challenging. People who are moving forward with a divorce or have already completed the process could be confronted with various issues. This is especially true if the couple has children. While the best interests of the child are paramount and it is likely that both parents will want to put the child's development ahead of their own desires, disagreements can arise. That can result in a contentious dispute over custody and parenting time. If custody and parenting time are interfered with, it is important to know what remedies are available and to have legal assistance to provide protection.
Understanding when custody and visitation is interfered with
Parents who take or detain a child and do so to interfere with the other parent's rights to custody and visitation have committed interference. It is also interference if the parent has been served with a process or knows that the action they are taking impacts custody and visitation and they conceal the child to prevent the other parent from having custody or visitation. Once the process has been served, the parent is required to adhere to it. Concealing the child is a violation and categorized as interference.
Parents who interfere with custody can be charged with a crime. If the child is concealed or detained for more than 24 hours or taken outside the U.S., it is a second-degree charge. Apart from these circumstances, it is a third-degree crime. A conviction can lead to jail time of three-to-five years or a fine for as much as $15,000. For those who do not comply with a court order, there can also be a contempt charge. This is a fourth-degree crime with the potential for eighteen months in jail and fines for up to $10,000.
For custody and parenting time issues, legal help may be essential
Certain remedies can be given to the aggrieved parent if the other parent is found to have interfered with custody or parenting time. That includes compensatory time, financial ramifications, a modified custody agreement and more. When parents are in a dispute over a child, it can cause myriad problems to everyone involved. It may be tempting to take matters into one's own hands in these complex and emotional situations, but that tends to make matters worse. Before doing anything, it is important for the parents – regardless of their perspective – to consult with a legal professional experienced in family law, child custody and visitation.