Family Law Attorney For Custodial Interference

In the state of Florida, it is a crime for any person without lawful authority, including another parent, to intentionally interfere with a parent or guardian's custodial rights to a minor. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for custodial interference to occur between divorced parents. Occasionally, interference may be accidental, such as when a parent is late returning their child to the custodial parent due to forces outside of their control. However, frequent and intentional disruption of a parent's legally allotted visitation/custody violates their parental rights. The disruptive parent or guardian can face legal consequences for their actions.

If you feel your parental or custodial rights as the legal guardian of a minor are being violated, don't hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney at Tobaygo Law. Our experienced child custody lawyers frequently handle cases involving custodial issues such as interference and are dedicated to defending the rights of parents and children. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable custody attorneys!

Florida Laws On Custodial Interference

Florida Statute §787.03 describes the offense of custodial interference as occurring when any parent or guardian intentionally takes, entices, aids, abets, or otherwise hires another person to take a minor away from their lawful custodian. Furthermore, detaining, concealing, or persuading a minor away from a parent with the malicious intent of depriving the said parent of their right to custody is strictly prohibited.

Examples Of Interference

Keep in mind, the specific ways in which intentional custodial interference occurs will take different forms on a case-by-case basis. It's up to the parent to recognize when they feel that their rights are being violated. The following are merely a few examples of ways in which parental interference commonly occurs.

  • Repeatedly keeping the child past the allotted visitation time
  • Restricting a child's telephone contact with their other parent
  • Refusing to release the child to the other parent for an allotted visitation
  • Visiting the child when the other parent has custody
  • Influencing or enticing the child away from the other parent (parental/child alienation)

Legal Consequences For Interference

When any person without lawful authority interferes with custody, they commit a third-degree felony. While this offense is punishable with jail time, courts may seek legal remedies for less extreme interferences. Common solutions include court-ordered, make-up parenting time, imposing fines, or even an adjustment to time-sharing/custody arrangements. In extreme cases, an offending parent may face up to five years in prison, five years probation, and $5,000 in fines. Furthermore, if a parent/guardian physically takes a child from the custodial parent, the charge may be upgraded to kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

Valid Interference

Under certain circumstances, typically about child safety, there are types of interference that are not a violation of the law. The following are a few examples of valid custodial interference.

  • Protecting a child from perceived danger
  • Failure to return a child due to inclement weather
  • Previous agreements that interfere with a custody arrangement such as a planned trip/event
  • Stopping a parent from moving the child out of jurisdiction (i.e., the state or country)

How Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Our family law attorneys understand that custody is often a heated and emotional issue for parents and will dedicate themselves to achieving favorable outcomes for parents and their children. If you feel that your rights as a parent have been violated, you should reach out to one of the experienced attorneys at Tobaygo Law. Our attorneys can review the specifics of your case and provide crucial legal guidance that prioritizes your rights as a parent. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!