Oftentimes a child's parents who are not married either share custody of their child(ren) or one parent gains custody and the other is granted a right to scheduled visits. If you are the parent who has custody the majority of the time…and you interfere with the other parent's visitation rights…you not only jeopardize your custody privileges, you face criminal prosecution as well under Penal Code 278.5 PC California's law against the deprivation of custody.
You see, Penal Code 278.5 PC California's law against the deprivation of custody not only prohibits interfering with a parent's right to custody over a child, but also with a right to visitation. And…as is the case with many situations involving custody disputes…many parents do not get along. When this is the case, some parents may try to take their anger or revenge out on the other parent through the children. One way to do this is to try to hinder or obstruct the other parent's time with the children.
The “primary” parent may mistakenly believe that he/she has the freedom to do this, but Penal Code 278.5 PC prohibits just that. In fact, this offense is punishable by up to three years in the state prison. Be sure to avoid these penalties by complying with all court orders regarding custody and visitation schedules. Also refer to our article, "Four Things to Know about California Parental Child Abduction."