For many parents, one of the most difficult parts of divorce is not getting to live with their children anymore. Many divorce cases involving children end with one parent getting physical child custody most of the time, with some time reserved for visitation time with the other parent.
That visitation time is legally protected and interference with that child custody right is a crime in Utah. But some fathers say that the mothers of their children routinely keep their kids away from them without legal consequence. However, law enforcement and courts deny that they are biased against men.
The fathers say that their ex-wives frequently commit custodial interference, or the denial of the fathers’ visitation time, by not allowing them to pick up their kids. Claims of custodial interference of tripled in Utah over the past 10 years, suggesting either that the problem is getting worse or that parents are becoming more aware of their legal rights.
It is not only mothers who are allegedly interfering with child custody. Women are also making claims against the fathers of their children. But many men say that courts and police do not take their complaints as seriously as when women report interference.
The numbers do not exactly confirm or deny that claim. According to KSL-TV, most of the claims of custodial interference that are dismissed from court were filed against mothers, but most of those imprisoned for interference were mothers as well.
Though it may not be easy to prevail in court on a custodial interference claim, there are steps frustrated parents can take. Parents should have their divorce paperwork on hand for when the police are called to show them that the court has authorized their visitation time. They should also keep copies of all written and phone communication with the other parent as evidence.
Source: KSL-TV, “Are fathers getting the short end of the stick in Utah custody cases?” Mike Headrick, April 29, 2013