Any orders that are given by the court in regards to visitation or custody rights are based on the interests of the child, it is possible for the parents to have an input and make an agreement on how custody and visiting rights will be as long as they are in the best interest of the child. Once the court has stated how custody and visiting rights will be handled, those orders have to be followed by both parties – and failure to do so can have serious consequences in addition to being in contempt of the court’s order. The following are some examples of violating the court’s orders:
Visitation Being Blocked
If one of the parent makes it so that the child is unavailable for visitation as ordered by the court in any manner it is in violation of the court’s order. One of the benefits of having court ordered visiting rights is that the time frame the other parent has is clearly stated, with this, should there be a problem, the parent can have their rights enforced. Should the other parent begin to deny visiting rights, it is advised that the other parent bring a copy of the custody order with them when they go to pick up their child. If the custodial parent is claiming that child does not want to see the other parent or that child is not home, the non-custodial parent should call the police and show them a copy of the court order. It is possible that the police will intervene and help enforce the court’s order. However, it is important to note, the police frequently will refrain from getting involved in domestic issues and leave the enforcement issues to the court in a contempt case. However, should the visiting parent’s efforts prove futile, they are not in vain because they will have documented proof that they made an effort to visiting the children and of the interference from the other parent – which can be very helpful later in a contempt citation. Should a person find their self in this situation, it is advised that the non-custodial parent bring a copy of the court’s custody order to an experienced family law attorney to review and discuss options and remedies the court can provide.
Blocking of any Communication
The act of the custodial parent blocking or limiting phone calls, email, or any sort of communication between the other parent and the children is not a direct violation of the court’s orders, unless the communications provisions are clearly outlined in the court’s order and parenting plan. However those actions are an interference between the parent-child relationship which could lead the court to be reluctant to grant custody to parent who commits these actions.
Refusal of Visitation from the Children
It is up to the parents to encourage the children to spend time with the non-custodial parent. Should a judge be notified that the children are not spending enough time with the other parent because of the actions or words of a parent, there could be some consequences such as the changing of who gets custody of the children. It is also important to know that a modification of custody time will also open the door for a modification of child support.
Visiting Rights Being Denied because of Failure to Pay for Child Support
If the custodial parent hasn’t received the court ordered child support payments, if any, then they feel entitled to prevent visiting hours between the non-custodial parent and the children. It is important to remember that visitation / custody rights and child support payments are two distinctly different legal issues and that one does not directly impact the other. If the parent receiving the child support payment feels that legal actions needs to be taken regarding missed child support payments, they should contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss filing a citation for contempt. However, in the meanwhile using visitation / custody time with the children as leverage is not acceptable, and can in itself result in contempt. This is also true in the case of the custodial parent blocking visiting rights. Accordingly, the non-custodial parent should not withhold child support payments because custody is being improperly denied.
Visitation Being Missed by the Parent
It is against the children’s best interest if the vising parent is consistently late or just does not show up at all. It is best for the children to feel safe and loved after a divorce and to know that they are cared for, which can be shown by spending time with them. It is possible to lose all or part of future visitation time if the non-custodial parent keeps ignoring their responsibility. In other words, missing visitation opens the door for custody to be modified, which in turns opens the door for child support to be increased.
If there are violations to the court’s order regarding custody this can result in serious consequences. For example, the parent that feels like a violation has happened then they can file a motion with the court asking them to enforce the court’s order and hold the other parent in contempt. Now, changes in custody cannot be made during a contempt hearing but they can change the previously made visiting agreements. To change custody, a separate motion is filed where the non-custodial parent is requesting the change of custody due to the repeated intrusion of the custodial parent and the visiting times. It should be noted that any obstruction with a court order is a criminal act and subject prosecution according to the state’s laws and can be punishable by jail time, a fine, or both. Taking the child out of the state in an attempt to keep them away from the other parent is also a violation and is considered a felony.