Violation of a Child Custody or Visitation Order
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What Is Child Custody and Child Visitation?
Child custody gives a person the right to make decisions for that child and also makes the person the legal guardian of the child. Child custody often confers physical supervision of the child to the person as well.
Child visitation is the right of a person to visit a child who is under the custody of another person. Child visitation rights cannot denied without the consent of a court.
My Ex Disobeyed the Court Child Custody Order. What Can I Do?
If the court ordered child custody is not being followed, you have numerous options on how to handle the situation.
- You can have an attorney send a strongly written letter notifying the other parent that they must obey the court order or face legal penalties. This will show them that you are prepared to take legal action if they continue to violate the court order. This method may also be beneficial because it involves a third party and gives you additional support.
- You can file a motion for contempt of court. Along with this motion, you can ask for attorney's fees and costs as a penalty for violating the order.
- You can call the police. Although you may attempt to solve this problem without enlisting the help of the police, you should call them if your ex is denying you of your legal rights to visitation or custody.
What Happens If a Parent Disobeys a Court’s Child Custody Order?
Disobeying a court child custody order may result in harsh consequences:
- The other parent may petition the court for enforcement of the order.
- The parent that did not follow court order must appear in court and explain the reason he violated the court order.
- The judge may find the parent in contempt of court, which can lead to in jail time.
- The parent in violation of court order could also lose any custody rights previously granted by the court.
What Should I NOT Do?
If the former spouse fails to abide by the child custody or visitation order, there are some things that you should not do if you want to court to side with you:
- Go against the court order yourself. Always take the moral and legal high ground.
- Fail to take notes. Note what your former spouse does AND how you react to those actions.
- Speak negatively about your ex in front of the children. Family law judges prefer that both parents be involved in raising the children; turning the children against your ex will not help.
- Move away from the children or from the children’s support network. The network includes the children’s doctors, schools, and friends. Doing so will put you at a disadvantage.
- Fail to hire an attorney. Although everyone has the right to self-representation, having to learn an entire occupation in a very short time span while a highly emotional crisis is unfolding is generally not a good idea. Professional legal assistance can make a big difference.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
An experienced family law attorney will be able to advise you of your options and help you take any necessary legal steps. Your attorney will have experience in dealing with these situations and will help you enforce the court order so that your relationship with your child remains protected.
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Last Modified: 05-01-2014 03:19 PM PDT
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