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When parents interfere with visitation rights

5947213_S.jpgMissouri parents who have gone through a divorce and who have custody and parenting time orders in place are required to follow them. If issues arise and one parent tries to interfere with the time allotted to the other, that parent may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties for doing so.

When parents of minor children decide to end their marriage, they sometimes will negotiate parenting time agreements on their own. Filing these agreements with the court can help the parents with enforcing them. Parenting time may also be decided by the court if the issue is being contested.

Whether the parents reach an agreement or the court orders a schedule, both parents must comply. When a parent interferes with the parenting time allotted to the other either directly or indirectly, this is a violation of the order. Direct interference may include not letting the other parent see the child or refusing to return the child. It may also include not dropping the children off on their scheduled visitation days or moving without permission. Indirect interference may include such things as preventing the children from communicating with their other parents in order to obstruct the parent-child relationship. Parenting time interference is illegal and may result in criminal consequences as well as being held in contempt of the family court's order.

Parenting time orders are made in the best interests of the child rather than those of either parent. When a parent interferes with the other parent's time with the children, the parent whose rights have been violated may want to talk to a family law attorney. Counsel could file a motion to hold the violating parent in contempt of court. The attorney could also seek a modification of the order because of the interference.

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