What To Do If Your Former Spouse Is Withholding Parenting Time From You
Going through the process of a divorce can be daunting for anyone; regardless of the outstanding issues a couple may have that need to be addressed and resolved during the course of action. Once these issues are agreed upon by the parties and memorialized in an Agreement, or ruled upon by judge resulting in the finalization of the divorce, a litigant can finally breathe a sigh of relief and be happy with the fact that their divorce is completed. However, many times, this may not be the cheerful end to all issues between the now-former spouses. This is especially true with parenting time and custody.
Often times the biggest hurdle in a divorce can be establishing custody and parenting time. However, if you are the Parent of Alternate Residence (PAR), often times ensuring that you are provided the opportunity to exercise your parenting time as delineated in the Agreement can be an issue in and of itself. As with most very other issue, there are applicable New Jersey laws concerning your right to exercise your parenting time.
N.J.S.A. 2C:13-4(a) – Interference with Custody, states that a person, including a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian commits the crime of interfering with custody if he/she:
- Takes or detains a minor child with the purpose of concealing the minor child and thereby depriving the child’s other parent of custody or parenting time with the minor child; or
- After being served with process or having actual knowledge of an action affecting marriage or custody but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody and parenting time rights to a minor child, takes, detains, entices or conceals the child within or outside the State for the purpose of depriving the child’s other parent of custody or parenting time, or to evade the jurisdiction of the courts of this State; or
- After being served with process or having actual knowledge of an action affecting the protective services needs of a child pursuant to Title 9 of the Revised Statutes in an action affecting custody, but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody rights of a minor child, takes, detains, entices or conceals the child within or outside the State for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of the courts of this State; or
- After the issuance of a temporary or final order specifying custody, joint custody rights or parenting time, takes, detains, entices or conceals a minor child from the other parent in violation of the custody or parenting time order.
Interference with custody is a crime of the second degree if the child is taken, detained, enticed or concealed: (i) outside the United States or (ii) for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, interference with custody is a crime of the third degree but the presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in subsection e. of N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 for a first offense of a crime of the third degree shall not apply.
If it is found that a party has violated an order respecting custody or parenting time, R. 5:4-7(a) states that the court may order, in addition to the remedies provided by R. 1:10-3, any of the following relief, either singly or in combination:
- compensatory time with the children;
- economic sanctions, including but not limited to the award of monetary compensation for the costs resulting from a parent’s failure to appear for scheduled visitation such as child care expenses incurred by the other parent;
- modification of transportation arrangements;
- pick-up and return of the children in a public place;
- counseling for the children or parents or any of them at the expense of the parent in violation of the order;
- temporary or permanent modification of the custodial arrangement provided such relief is in the best interest of the children;
- participation by the parent in violation of the order in an approved community service program;
- incarceration, with or without work release;
- issuance of a warrant to be executed upon the further violation of the judgment or order; and
- any other appropriate equitable remedy.
Contact the New Jersey Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates Today
The important thing to realize is that there are different remedies that you and your lawyer can request if your ex-spouse is improperly withholding parenting time from you, and as such you may be entitled to a any of the above listed relief. At Lyons & Associates, P.C., our New Jersey family law lawyers help parents fight for custody, and we try to ensure that the Courts render decisions that protect the best interest of all children. Please contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment if you think you may be entitled to either of the above.
Written By: William P. Lemega, Esq.