The court gave you custody rights. Maybe you and your ex got divorced or perhaps you were never married. Either way, you have a child together and you have a court-appointed right to see that child.
One day, when your ex is supposed to drop the child off, they don’t show up. You call them and they tell you that they are canceling your custody time for the day. They’re keeping your child with them. Perhaps they just want more time or maybe the two of you had a fight and this is their way of “getting even.” Is it legal?
Custody interference is a violation of a court order
It is certainly not legal. This type of custody interference goes against the court order and is not in the child’s best interests. It violates your rights.
What can you do? Explaining this to your ex may be enough to diffuse the situation on its own. If not, though, it may qualify as parental kidnapping. Yes, your ex is the child’s parent, but this is still a situation where someone who is not supposed to have the child has taken them from someone who is.
You can call the police, who may return your child to you and charge your co-parent with a violation of the law. In some areas, the police may refuse to get involved without a court order, however, so you may have to take the issue to the family court, first.
Either way, after the authorities get involved, you may have more options. For instance, you can sometimes sue for damages. You may also be able to ask the court to revoke your ex’s custody rights because it’s clear that the child isn’t safe with them.
Don’t try to handle custody issues by yourself
In a complex situation like this, experienced legal guidance can help tremendously. Every family situation is different. Some custody interference issues can be resolved fairly quickly and with a minimum of effort. Others may require a lot more work. Handling the issue on your own can be incredibly difficult, but help is available.