Custodial Parents Interfering with Visitation Lose Custody and Held in Contempt

In two recently decided cases, custodial parents were penalized for interfering with visitation and attempting to alienate children from the non custodial parents. In one of the two cases, a mother lost custody of her child; in the other case, the mother was found in contempt and risked further consequences if the conduct continues.

In Chase v, Chase,  a mother’s continued false accusations that the father was a pedophile, compelled the Appellate Division reverse a Family Court finding that granted custody to the mother. 

The Appeals Court’s finding that the mother failed to produce the child for visitation, made repeated false and unsubstantiated claims that the father sexually abused the child, and repeatedly disobeyed various court orders warranted a change of custody. As a consequence of the mother’s conduct, the Court granted the father custody of the child.

In another case recently decided by the Suffolk County Family Court (Frank G. v. Carol G.), a mother was found to be in contempt of court for her failure to abide by the visitation provisions incorporated in a judgment of divorce. 

In both cases, the courts were particularly upset by the fact that the mothers, by their own admission, acted as the sole arbiters of what was the best course of conduct for their children.  Both mothers knowingly and intentionally disregarded court orders providing for the fathers’ visitation. 

Both courts reiterated the axiom that interference with the relationship between a child and the non-custodial parent by the custodial parent has said to be an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the child as to per se raise a strong probability that the offending party is unfit to act as a custodial parent.

While the holdings of these two cases evidence a judicial hostility to the custodial parent’s attempts to alienate a child from the non-custodial parent, the facts unfortunately show that the non-custodial parent has a long and difficult course to enforce their visitation rights.  

Since requests for a change in custody  are, quite properly, closely scrutinized, a custodial parent accused of interfering with the non custodial parent’s visitation is frequently given gentle slaps on his/her wrists before facing the consequence of being held in contempt or losing custody.

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9 Responses

  1. Excellent posting- I’m glad the court here did more than a “slap on the wrist.”

  2. rronnie l anderson

    i am a resident of n.c experiancing some difficulties in showing the importance of both parents being involved the development of my sons life, the [constodial]parent the mother ,has consistently interfered with my visitation rights she has either charged me with false accusations of having indecent conversations with her daugter are has gotten order of protections against me for threatning to kill her i have never denied the threat but it had taken place 3months prior to her charge.this action was taken against me because i had her charged with harrasment 1day prior to her filing this protection order iam still in disbelief that a state would allow someone to take a protection order out after they were arrested 1day prior for harrasment the constodial parent has also been allowed to get me supervised visitation without good cause. she has now moved out of state with my son,i was never informed by her that she would be moving,when i have court ordered visitation. i believe that if the states really cared about dead beat dads then they would take more of a stance against mothers who alinate the children from their fathers

  3. dcm

    I’m increduous that any female doing anything wrong is held responsible for her behavior.

  4. darla

    i am a noncustodial mother, i was denied for over 6 months and have a police report for every incident, filed contempt charges which my ex plead guilty to 21 counts, and all this right after moving out of state under a temporary restraining order. so far he has had to do nothing for his behavior, we had to attend 1 four hour parenting class, and i had to also attend.
    i assure you if i wasn’t paying child support i would be in jail, I have to keep an attorney on retainer to constantly enforce the decree.
    the judge ordered a home study and it is recommended that the child reside with mother. I’m not sure what that means, will the court follow its own study or leave things as is, rather than admit to a mistake. I lost custody because i was a waitress and he seemed more stable.

  5. Angela

    I recently was awarded sole legal and physical custody of my 15 month old son. My son’s father did not show to court and I expressed to the judge my frustration that his father will not answer a simple question as “Did he eat dinner?” or “what time did he give him his medication?”
    When the judge asked me if I worked out a visitation plan, I added that I’d like to alternate major holidays and to alternate weekends and for my son’s father to pick him up every Wednsday from daycare so he can have an extra night with his dad. Growing up without my own dad present, I understand the need and want of having a father present. The weekends that his dad has visitation with him, he is suppose to pick him up from daycare Friday and return back on Sunday evening. His father refuses to pick him up on Friday’s but expects me to continue to drop him off early Saturday mornings. Would I be held in contempt by the court if I refused to drop him off at his convenience?

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  8. beth

    I am a stepparent I have been with the kids for 12 years they call me mom all on their own i did not ask them to what I dont understand is that the father has custody of them the mother moves out of state is behind in child support,will not pay her 40% of the medical bill that she is court orderd to pay, and the father cant get help”why is that” but the mother moved out of state made no visition changes and now wants to put him in contempt because he wont put the kids on a plane to go see her.shes the one in contempt she is to have her visition every other weekend per the court orderd visition.we have all kinds of laws to help the noncustodial parent what about the custodial parent the need help too!

  9. no justice

    I feel sorry for this poor Mother, as she was probably telling the truth about the Father and just couldn’t produce enough evidence to prove him gulity which is a shame as the Child will more than likely suffer years of abuse before it is disclosed. The current system needs to be thrown out and rewritten by caring and loving Christian parents who really know what is best for our Children.

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