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Dealing with various types of child custody interference

In an ideal world, divorcing Minnesota couples would be on the same page when it comes to raising their children and making proper use of their parenting time. Everyone would be happy with the visitation rights ordered and parents would return children to the custodial parent on time. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for a child custody dispute to arise and cause a parent concern about a child's health and safety. Here are some of the most common situations and how to deal with them.

One common situation is when a parent returns the kids late after visitation. This may seem like a minor issue, but it can cause the custodial parent much worry, and may be in violation of the divorce settlement. This should therefore be discussed with the parent, and he or she should take steps to return the children promptly in the future. If the parent does not return the kids at all, it is considered kidnapping and he or she can face criminal and civil charges.

What happens when a noncustodial parent takes the child on a trip without informing the other parent? In most cases, parents don't have tell each other where they take the child, as long as they aren't taking the child somewhere dangerous. However, it's a good idea to know where a child is at all times in case of an emergency. It's important to ask the other parent verbally first, and if he or she does not respond, then follow up with a certified letter to the parent and his or her attorney. As a last resort, a court order can be filed to force the parent to respond.

When these types of situation arise, it's best to work with the other parent to try to resolve the issue. Withholding child support, reducing visitation time and badmouthing all have negative effects on not only the parents, but the children as well. If negotiating doesn't help, a mediator or family law attorney may be of assistance.

Source: FindLaw, "Custody or Visitation Interference," accessed March 8, 2015

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