In a highly unusual move, a judge ordered a mother jailed for interfering with husband’s visitation with his children.
In Lauren R. v Ted R. Justice Robert Ross ordered to the mother to report to jail for repeatedly violating the terms of the court orders regarding the father’s parenting time. The mother’s imprisonment coincides with the father’s scheduled visitation with the children.
The Court’s opinion details instance after instance of the mothers deliberate and willful attempts to alienate the children from the father, including false reports of child abuse, bad-mouthing the father in the presence of the children, and deliberately scheduling theater tickets, family events and social activities for the girls during the father’s visitation.
The New York Post reported that as a result of the mother’s efforts the children now hate their father. “They tell me I’m strictly their biological father,” Ted Rubin, the father said, “and their stepfather is their real father.”
In the past, courts have ordered a change of custody when one parent interferes with the other’s parental rights. In this case, the mother apparently succeeded in destroying the father- daughter relationship. In doing so the mother violated repeated court orders regarding visitation. The mother has to be penalized in a way that she is forced to learn that Court orders have teeth and can be enforced. Jail time for her contempt of court may be the only punishment she understands.
On the other hand, the mother’s imprisonment is not going to endear the father to his daughters. It seems inevitable that the girls will continue to blame the father for putting the mother in jail.