Parenting Time Interference Sanctions
Parenting time permits a noncustodial parent the ability to develop and maintain a healthy and meaningful relationship with a child in a divorce or paternity setting. As a general rule, Pennsylvania family law sets forth that parenting time should be regular and reasonable.
Unfortunately, there are situations in which the custodial parent interferes with the noncustodial parent’s ability to exercise parenting time as required by a court order. When such a situation arises, Pennsylvania custody law provides for certain sanctions that can imposed against the offending parent.
Common Types of Parenting Time Interference
The most common type of parenting time interference involves the custodial parent not following the terms and conditions of the court order governing this issue. In some cases, other family members are the culprits.
Monetary Penalties for Parenting Time Interference
A fairly common type of penalty imposed by a court in the aftermath of parenting time interference is the imposition of some sort of monetary penalty. This can includes requiring the interfering parent to pay the other parent’s attorney fees. As an aside, hiring a lawyer is a solid course when a need exists to enforce a parenting time order.
Another penalty that can be imposed by the court is the issuance of a contempt order. If the parent who committed parenting time interference continues in the wrongful course of conduct, a judge could sentence a person to jail as a sanction for being in contempt of court.
Change of Custody
In extreme cases in which a custodial parent has significantly interfered with the parenting time rights of the noncustodial parent, a court can consider changing custody. In the final analysis, it runs against the best interests of the child when the custodial parent prevents the other parent from enjoying appropriate parenting time.
A change of custody in such a situation is not so much a sanction but a step to ensure that the child’s best interests are met. The parent who violated in the custody and parenting time order in the first instance may be able to have parenting time. However, with a track of interfering with the other parent’s rights, that individual’s rights may be restricted, including being required to have supervised visitation.