What Is Custodial Interference?
Recently, a local family made headlines when Johnny Devone was arrested on charges including custodial interference. He allegedly kept his two-year-old son away from the boy’s mother, Brittany Finley. While there are a large number of complicating factors in the case, the issue at the heart of it is whether one parent has the right to keep a child away from the other parent.
Custodial interference in Connecticut can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in criminal court. Interference occurs when anyone takes or keeps a child away from the legal custodial parent with the intent to keep the child for a length of time, or the person simply refuses to return a child to the custodial parent when asked to do so.
How can I prevent custodial interference or parental kidnapping?
The most important thing you can do is obtain an order of custody specifying that you are the custodial parent and indicating when, if at all, the other parent has the right to spend time with your child. Never deviate from the schedule in the order.
You should notify your child’s school or daycare that no one else has the authority to pick up your child, including babysitters. You should obtain a passport for your child and keep it in a safe place or safe deposit box to reduce the risk of your child being taken out of the country. Only one passport can be issued per child and, if you have the passport, your child cannot legally leave the country.
If you are facing a custody case or are worried about custodial interference, contact Rutkin, Oldham & Griffin for assistance.