When parents sign child custody contracts, they agree to the terms and acknowledge that there will be consequences if they violate them. If your child’s co-parent is not complying with a court-ordered custody agreement, or if they have accused you of noncompliance, a Hartford child custody enforcement lawyer can help. A dedicated child custody attorney can explain your legal remedies and work with you to successfully resolve your case.
A child custody order is enforceable regardless of whether the parents agreed to its terms or a judge entered the orders after a hearing or trial. An individual might violate the order’s terms in various ways.
A common violation of a custody contract is a parent’s refusal to abide by a visitation schedule. Dropping the child off late, failing to meet at the designed exchange location, and scheduling activities for the child during the co-parent’s time, all signal a parent’s unwillingness to comply with a custody order.
In some cases, a parent’s violation is not as blatant as refusing to return a child, but it is just as problematic. Many parenting plans issued by family court judges mandate that each parent encourage their child’s relationship with the co-parent. When a parent continuously speaks negatively about the co-parent to the child, they are violating that order and may face court sanctions.
Individuals also violate an order’s legal custody provisions by failing to communicate with each other about their child. Unilateral decision-making is not permitted in a joint legal custody arrangement. A parent who refuses to engage in meaningful child-focused discussions with the co-parent may lose their legal custody rights.
Unfortunately, there are numerous ways a parent might violate a custody order and face the court’s contempt power. A practiced Hartford attorney can assess a case’s facts and determine if a contempt petition is warranted to enforce child custody orders.
When one parent fails to abide by a court order, the co-parent can attempt to resolve the situation by communicating with them directly. Often, parents who open the lines of communication are able to settle their differences without going to court. However, if the non-compliant parent will not adhere to the order’s terms despite an individual’s best efforts, the only option may be a contempt action.
A contempt petition is the primary enforcement tool when a parent violates a custody order. The parent seeking an order of contempt must file a pleading with the court detailing the co-parent’s noncompliance with the court order. The compliant parent must also prove that the co-parent willfully violated the order. Courts generally interpret the term willful as a parent who has the ability to obey the order but voluntarily chooses not to.
A non-compliant parent faces several possible consequences if a judge holds them in contempt of court. For instance, the individual may be ordered to comply fully with the order and pay the co-parent’s legal fees for preparing and filing the contempt petition. When a parent’s violations are extreme, a court may also order their incarceration for up to six months.
If the offending parent continues to disregard the court order despite the consequences, a judge can modify custody and suspend or severely limit their time with their child.
Contempt is serious, and a parent seeking to enforce a child custody order through a contempt action should seek an attorney in Hartford before moving forward. The parent charged with violating the order must also understand the severe consequences they face if a judge finds them in contempt.
If your child’s co-parent refuses to obey a custody agreement, you have legal options. A Hartford child custody enforcement lawyer will help you take the actions necessary to compel them to honor the custody terms. Call today to talk to a caring attorney from our legal team about your case and concerns.