What Do I Do if Someone is Not Following My Custody Order?
Violating a court order is a serious matter, especially in matters of custody. If you believe that your custody or visitation rights have been violated, an experienced family lawyer can investigate your case and help you put things right. At King Law Offices, our family law attorneys have settled many cases involving custody orders.
File a Motion for Contempt
If you are faced with a situation where the other parent to your children is not following a custody order that has been entered by the Court, there is a way to bring the action back to court to help ensure that the custody order will be followed and the other parent will be punished for the violations.
If the other parent to your child or children has not been following a custody order entered by the court, you can file a Motion for Contempt. Court orders are enforceable by the contempt powers of the court. If someone is not following provisions of a court order, they can be brought back into court and punished. If the other parent to your children is not following the custody schedule or violating one of the provisions in the custody order, you can file a Motion for contempt and have them brought into court and punished for not following the order. It is important for you to keep track of all of the specific times and dates that the other parent has violated the order. Each violation can be alleged in the Motion to show the court that the custody order is not being followed.
Common Violations of a Custody Order in North Carolina
Common violations of a custody order include: one parent keeping the children from the other parent, even though there is a court-ordered custody schedule in place; one parent bashing the other parent in front of the children; or one parent not allowing the children to talk on the phone to the other parent, even though the custody order provides that they can. Depending on what language is in your custody order, there will most likely be other provisions that are being violated as well. Be sure to keep track of each instance that is a violation of your court order because each of these will help you be successful in winning a Motion for Contempt.
What Happens if Someone Doesn’t Follow a Court Order for Visitation?
Many parents in North Carolina work out visitation schedules amongst themselves. However, when they cannot agree, they may opt for the court to decide in hopes that they may get more visitation time than they might have otherwise. If one parent refuses to comply with the court order and attempts to withhold visitation from the other parent, they could face severe consequences.
A typical visitation schedule allows the non-custodial parent to visit with their child every other weekend and holiday. The visitation order should include specific meeting times and which parent needs to provide transportation to avoid confusion. In cases where there have been allegations of abuse or neglect, the court may order the visitation to be supervised by a relative or social worker.
Regardless of the terms of the visitation court order, the custodial parent must not interfere with the other parent’s visitation with the child. If they do interfere, the court could rule for a change in custody.
Penalties for Violating a Visitation Court Order in North Carolina
If one parent is blocking or refusing to follow the ordered visitation schedule, they may be violating the court order. This typically only applies to custodial parents if they deny or withhold visitation. If the non-custodial parent misses visitation, they will likely not be found in violation of the order. However, missing visitation could result in a damaged relationship with your child. Additionally, if you ever request more visitation time from the court, they could see your failure to attend previous visitations as a valid reason to deny your request.
When the custodial parent fails to comply with a visitation order, the non-custodial parent can file a motion for contempt. The court may resolve the motion in one of the following ways:
- Fines and attorney’s fees paid by the parent in violation of the order
- If the non-custodial parent missed visitation through no fault of their own, they might be awarded additional visitations to make up for the missed time.
- Court-mandated counseling for the parent who denied the visitation
- Counseling for the parent whose visitation was denied, paid for by the custodial parent
- Modification of custody if these violations are frequent
These penalties are designed to deter the custodial parent from interfering with visitation moving forward.
If you find yourself in a situation where the custodial parent is withholding your right to visitation, it is essential to reach out for professional help rather than taking matters into your own hands. Even if you believe you are behaving responsibly, you could unintentionally break the law. If you attempt to visit with your child outside of the terms of the visitation schedule or remove your child from the custodial parent’s care against their will, you could be charged with kidnapping. If you have to explain what happened to a judge, it may end up being your word against the other parent’s.
If you believe your visitation rights have been violated, it is essential to contact an experienced North Carolina family lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will review your case and help you determine the best course of action moving forward.
Contact a North Carolina Family Lawyer Today
If you are successful on a Motion for Contempt, you may also be able to recover any attorney fees you acquired for having to file the motion and bring the action to court. If you are faced with this unfortunate situation, contact the family attorneys at King Law and we will be glad to assist you. To schedule a consultation give us a call at (888) 748-5464 or reach out through our online contact form.