Joel W. Anders, P.C.
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202-644-9609 301-200-5094

What if a parent does not obey a custody order?

Learning how to share child-raising privileges and responsibilities with another parent is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce or separation. Many parents want to spend as much time as possible with their child, often violating the other parent's rights in the process. When parents disobey a custody order or parenting plan, they may find themselves out of favor with courts, and may even face legal consequences.

Protecting time with your child is a fundamental desire for a parent to have. However, when one parent oversteps the boundaries of a custody order, they not only invite punishment from a family court, they also violate the rights of the other parent. If you believe that your child's other parent violates your parenting rights with their behavior, it is important to build a strong legal strategy to protect your rights and needs of your child. With proper preparation and documentation, you may have opportunities to use the law to keep your parenting time secure.

Violations of physical custody and visitation rights

Whenever one parent's actions or negligence keep the other parent from enjoying court-ordered physical custody or visitation time with their child, those actions may constitute direct parenting time interference.

It is important to understand that from time to time, everyone faces circumstances beyond their control that make it impossible or unfeasible to obey a custody order perfectly. However, if a parent repeatedly disregards a custody schedule or otherwise keeps their child's other parent from enjoying their physical custody time, this is not behavior to tolerate.

Extreme forms of direct interference may even extend into parental kidnapping, if one parent takes a child out of their home state or country without the knowledge or permission of the other parent. Parental kidnapping is a serious crime, and can result in criminal charges.

Preventing interference in your parenting time

Navigating family issues is not a simple task, so it is wise to assess your circumstances carefully. If your child's other parent interferes in your parenting time again after a reminder about your custody order, then you may need to take legal action. Building a strong legal strategy is crucial, so you may begin by simply documenting these violations as they occur (as well as others that you remember) and gathering any verification of these violations. In some cases, simply documenting the other parent's behavior helps identify a pattern, which can streamline your strategy.

With a strong understanding of your parenting rights and the guidelines placed on both you and your child's other parent, you can more effectively assert these rights and push back against bad behavior. If you do need to take further action, be sure to use excellent legal resources and guidance as needed to keep your time with your child secure, so that you can focus on the things that truly matter most.

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