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After your divorce, you might have hoped that you and your ex-spouse could put aside your feelings and be effective co-parents. Even if you have given your best efforts, they may fight you at every turn. And they may now be at the point where they are making it impossible to see your kids. If your ex-spouse denies you your court-ordered time with your children, their behavior may meet the threshold for interference with custody.

Understanding what constitutes interference with custody

In Ohio, interference with custody refers to the enticement, taking, keeping or harboring of children from their custodial parent. Even minor acts of interference can be problematic, since they violate the terms of your custody order, which is legally binding.

Your ex-spouse may be interfering with custody if they:

  • Schedule alternative activities for your children during your scheduled time with them
  • Routinely return your children to you late
  • Prevent your children from going with you during your scheduled time with them
  • Take or move with your children to another state or country without your permission

The penalties for interference with custody

If your ex-spouse is charged with interference with custody, they may be able to mount an affirmative defense if they were trying to protect your children. In this case, they may be able to argue that their taking or enticing of them was justified. Furthermore, if they notified authorities of their actions, their harboring of your children may not qualify as interference, either.

Absent this situation, your ex-spouse could face serious consequences for their actions. These could include fines and jail time. It is possible that your custody order could change as well.

After experiencing interference with custody, you will want to do everything in your power protect your relationship with your children. By consulting a legal professional, you can determine a path forward that benefits your family.