What Is Custodial Interference in New Jersey?

New Jersey statutes relating to divorce law in the state are pretty thorough. Even if you are going through the divorce process in New Jersey, you may not be familiar with an area in the statutes related to custodial interference. Be aware that the section of the statutes pertaining to custodial interference is not part of divorce law. On the contrary, the section related to “interference with custody” is found under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice.” Let’s answer the important question, “What is custodial interference?”

Custodial Interference in N.J.

The definition of custodial interference is basically found in the phrase itself – custodial interference is interfering with the custody of a child. If a person takes a minor with intent to deprive “the child’s other parent of custody”, that is committing a crime under Section 2C:13-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code “Interference with custody”. The statute applies to all persons, including parents and guardians, who interfere with custody of a minor.

Custodial Interference Law

Interfering with a parent’s custody of a child is a crime in most states. This is true even if the person committing the interference is a parent with custodial rights. A common type of custodial interference occurs when a custodial parent refuses to give the children to the non-custodial parent under a court-ordered visitation arrangement. While custodial interference laws do provide some affirmative defenses to the charge – such as claiming your “action was necessary to preserve the child from imminent danger to his welfare” –  the potential penalties upon conviction for this offense go up to and include possible jail time.  

Custodial Interference by Grandparents

The crime of custodial interference stretches beyond an offense aimed at parents of the minor. A grandparent who aids one of the parents in interfering with the custodial rights of the other parent can also be charged with a crime under New Jersey’s custodial interference laws. As noted above, penalties for conviction of custodial interference can be significant, with potential fines up to $150,000 and up to 10 years of jail in extreme cases. 

Custodial Interference Jail Time

New Jersey law allows a judge’s discretion regarding penalties for violation of custodial interference laws, but custodial interference jail time can be significant. Anyone who is considering interfering with the legal custody rights of a parent should consider the possible consequences and abide by the court’s decisions regarding custody and visitation rights. 

Facing Penalties for Custodial Interference? The Law Offices of James C. DeZao Can Help

Penalties for custodial interference are no laughing matter. If you are facing charges of custodial interference and live in New Jersey, get the assistance you need to protect your rights and avoid potentially hefty fines and jail time. The New Jersey law experts at the Law Offices of James C. DeZao are well-versed in New Jersey custodial interference laws and can give you the defense you need. We will answer all your questions and assist you through the entire process. Contact us today for a free consultation at (973) 358-6134.