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Custodial interference and the law

When Georgia parents divorce, they usually create a child custody agreement that details how much time the child will spend with each parent. If one parent violates it, this is known as custodial interference.

Not returning a child at the agreed-upon time or picking up a child at school when it is the other parent's turn are both examples of custodial interference. While in some cases parents might be able to resolve these issues between themselves, in other cases, a parent might want to go to court and even to law enforcement. Custodial interference is illegal, and a parent can go to jail for it. In order to stop it happening again, the other parent may request a change in the custody agreement such as supervised visitation for the parent who violated the agreement.

The court system takes the reason for violating the custody agreement into account. For example, a parent might be late in returning a child because of weather conditions. Parents might also make an informal agreement from time to time to change the custody arrangement to suit a change in their own plans. Finally, it is not considered custodial interference if a parent violates the custody agreement in order to keep the child safe from the other parent. The court will weigh these factors in looking at custodial interference.

Parents might be able to negotiate a child custody agreement that suits them both instead of going to court. Even if they are experiencing a good deal of conflict, they might be able to reach a resolution through mediation. They can also create a parenting plan that addresses any areas of concern such as how vacations and holidays will be handled or what extracurricular activities each parent is responsible for.

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