Child custody agreements and parenting plans are court orders, and parents must comply with them. Failing to do so puts you at risk of facing contempt of court.
If your children’s other parent consistently violates a custody order or parenting plan, you have several legal options. A Guilford child custody enforcement lawyer can advise you on the alternative that is most likely to be effective in your specific case. A seasoned child custody attorney is ready to support you.
In general, courts do not look favorably on parents eager to drag their co-parent back to court for minor lapses or occasional violations of their custody agreement. On the other hand, some violations that a parent might think are minor are disruptive to a parent and child. For example, habitually picking up a child late or canceling parenting time disappoints a child and does not allow them to establish a comfortable routine. Acting to enforce a custody agreement could also be necessary if one parent:
A Guilford attorney will consult with a parent about the nature of custody order violations and their effect on the children. Informal negotiations using a mediator might resolve an issue depending on the circumstances. In other cases, seeking a Court Order can be appropriate. Involving the police may be necessary if a parent endangers a child or removes a child from their home jurisdiction without permission.
If a parent consistently violates a court-ordered custody agreement or parenting plan, the other parent can take them to court to address the violations. Parents can seek an Order to Enforce the existing plan or an Order of Contempt.
An Order to Enforce requires the violating parent to comply with the existing agreement or face contempt charges. If the parent subsequently violates the custody agreement or parenting plan, the parent could face a Contempt Order.
A judge may find a parent in Contempt of Court if they repeatedly violate the custody agreement, parenting plan, or a previous Court Order to enforce such contracts. When a judge holds a parent in contempt, they could face hefty fines and jail time. Courts can require a parent held in contempt to pay the other parent’s court costs and attorney’s fees.
When a parent believes a child is in imminent danger, Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56f allows them to file for an emergency ex parte custody order. A parent could seek to temporarily prevent the other parent from having visitation with a child or request supervised visitation. A parent also could request an order that the other parent not remove a child from the jurisdiction.
Judges grant emergency ex parte custody only in situations that might endanger a child. For example, if someone learns their co-parent has applied for a passport for a child and booked flights out of the country, a parent might ask for an ex-parte custody order preventing them from leaving Connecticut. Whether a court grants the petition or not, a court will schedule a hearing within ten days to hear both parents on the underlying issues. Although seeking an emergency ex parte custody order is an extreme step, a custody enforcement attorney in Guilford might advise it in appropriate cases.
If your co-parent is not abiding by your custody agreement, they are hurting your children. You owe it to your children to enforce a custody agreement a judge ordered in their best interests. Our firm is always prepared to fight for parents and children in court. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your situation with a caring Guilford child custody enforcement lawyer.