Custodial interference can be a serious concern for separated or divorced parents in Colorado. The thought of losing access to one’s children due to an ongoing custody or other dispute with a former partner can be emotionally devastating. Of course, the impact on a child’s psychological health and well-being can be even greater. When one parent prevents the other one from having time with the child, this could be considered custodial interference, a systematic attempt to undermine and block the custodial relationship of the child with the other parent.

Scheduling conflicts and sudden, one-off issues do not rise to the level of custodial interference. Navigating these types of problems comes with the territory of co-parenting. But when a parent refuses to turn over the child for scheduled custodial time, attempts to take him or her away during the other parent’s time or even relentlessly attempts to convince the child to change the custody agreement, this can rise to the level of criminal activity.

In order for a parent to be held accountable for custodial interference, there must be a formal child custody order on record with the family court. Informal child custody agreements are not enforceable, but it is always possible to seek an official custody plan even years after the parents have separated. And when a custody order is on file, that plan could be significantly modified or changed in response to one parent’s attempt to interfere with the custodial arrangement.

People may wonder what they can do when their exes repeatedly block their time with their children. However, action can be taken. By consulting with a family law and divorce attorney, individuals can work to enforce their existing child custody agreement, create a new agreement or modify the existing order to prevent custodial interference and protect the precious parent-child relationship.