In a nutshell, the crimes of unlawful interference with custody and custodial interference occur when a parent doesn’t want to comply with the child custody arrangements. When this happens, the non-compliant parent might be charged with these crimes if found guilty.
What Exactly is Custodial Interference?
Both crimes are similar and are considered 4th-degree felonies in New Mexico. This means that if an individual is proven guilty of one of these crimes, he or she could face 18 months in prison and would need to pay no less than $5,000 in fines. Additionally, the non-compliant parent might also face additional punishments in family court.
In general, custodial interference happens when a custodial parent deliberately takes, hides, detains, or refuses to give his or her kid to the other parent under the terms and conditions of a custody order or parenting plan, with the intention to deny the other parent custody or parenting time of the child, permanently or for prolonged amount of time. Unlawful interference with custody on the other hand, by contrast, happens when a non-custodial party willfully takes, conceals, detains, or refuses to return his or her kid to the custodial parent.
It’s imperative to note that in the event that a law enforcement officer is tasked to investigate any of these custodial interference cases, he or she has the right to put the kid in protective custody, if he or she has reason to believe that the offending party might kidnap or run off with the kid, warns a top family law and divorce lawyer from The Burnham Law Office, P.C. in Denver. CO. The kid might then be held in a local shelter until such time that the court could hold a custody hearing or given back to the custodial parent.
Other Vital Things to Keep in Mind
Although law enforcement officers have the legal authority to take action and investigate custodial interference claims, it could be extremely hard to locate a child if a non-compliant parent has hidden the child or worse, fled the state or country. That being said, if you find yourself facing such a situation, seek help from law enforcement officers immediately, and contact an experienced lawyer to make certain that your legal rights would be protected when you recover your child.