Florida Child Custody Enforcement Attorney serving West Palm Beach Area
Child custody remains one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. That is simply because parents often use their children as pawns in their conflict with each other. But, even after a family court judge awards custody to a parent, the problems may not be over. This happens when, in some instances, one parent does not comply with the custody order. That then necessitates legal action known as custody enforcement.
Judges have several options when deciding on the type of enforcement they can order. However, in all cases, it is best for any parent seeking this legal action to hire an experienced family law attorney who is well-versed in all aspects of child custody laws and regulations. Violations of child custody orders can result in fines, criminal charges, jail, or even the offending parent losing custody rights or visitation privileges.
Situations That Could Lead to Enforcement Orders
Although every child custody case has its own set of agreements, there are common situations that could lead to a family court having to step in to issue a custody enforcement order, including:
- One Parent Won’t Allow Visitation. A parent who has physical custody of the child refuses to comply with the other parent’s time-sharing/visitation rights.
- One Parent Won’t Stick To Visitation Schedule. In some instances, one parent may allow the other parent to visit, but only when it is convenient. This is often a violation of the time-sharing/visitation agreement.
- One Parent Doesn’t Return Child Per Visitation Schedule. A parent with visitation rights fails to comply with the agreement. This may include not returning the child to the other parent as scheduled.
- One Parent Takes Child Out of State. The parent with time-sharing takes a child out of state for a vacation or some type of event without consulting the other parent. This is different from a permanent out of state move, which the state’s child relocation laws cover.
- One Parent Takes Child Out of State. In most instances, when a parent takes a child out of state, without notifying the other parent or without court approval, it is for the purposes of violating the custody agreement. When this occurs, each state is bound under the Uniform Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This gives courts the authority to issue an emergency order demanding the child’s immediate return.
Steps to File A Motion For Custody Enforcement
If a parent believes that another parent has violated the child custody/time-sharing agreement, they can typically take one of two actions:
- File a Motion of Enforcement. This is a motion filed with family court that asks the other parent to comply with the existing custody agreement. If the parent fails to comply, the court has several options. This may include modifying the custody arrangement. That, in turn, could mean that one parent loses custody/time-sharing of the child.
- File a Motion for Contempt of Court. This motion asks the court to hold the other parent in contempt of court. This is a charge against someone who is refusing to comply with a judge’s order. Once that motion is filed, the court will order a show-cause hearing. At that hearing, the other parent can respond to the allegations, rectify the situation, or face consequences for not doing so.
Consequences of Violating Child Custody Arrangement
Each state has its own set of guidelines when a parent violates a child custody agreement. However, there are some common consequences of this action, including:
- Modification of Custody and/or Time-sharing Arrangement. As mentioned earlier, a judge can order a modification of custody if the violation is serious enough to merit this action.
- Modification of Parenting Plan. A judge can also order that parents modify the parenting plan, granting more or less visitations, and giving one parent more authority to make major decisions for the child.
- Criminal Charges. A parent who flees out of state with a child can face criminal charges.
An Experienced Advocate in Family Law
If you are involved in a breach of child custody, please contact the family law firm of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. at (561) 677-8090 for a personal legal consultation with Attorney Cheshire. We have the experience and the resources to help you through custody and time-sharing issues. We can help you whether you are the parent seeking enforcement or the parent accused of violating the custody/time-sharing order.
“He is a wonderful lawyer and wonderful person, I always felt cared for and knew he never had anything but my best interest at heart!”- A. Presnell
A true advocate. “Eric was effective in and out of court with the Judge, the opposing counsel, and me.” Frank
Our experience was excellent! “The process didn’t take long, and ended in the awesome success of the legal adoption of our daughter!” Former Client
Wisely advised me! “We ended with great results! I have been so impressed, through this whole process, of Eric’s knowledge and expertise and high standards.” Former Client
Eric made my dreams come true! “Adopting my child was the most important decision of my life and Eric Cheshire was very instrumental in making this happen.” Former Client
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