If you've been awarded sole custody of your child, you may wonder how visitation agreements will be enforced and how you can ensure the continued safety and well being of your child. Below is an overview of child custody violations, including recognizing a violation, knowing your rights as the custodial parent, and how to deal with a violation in the event that one occurs.
Know What Actions Qualify as a Violation
It's important to understand your custody order as thoroughly as possible so you're better able to know when a violation is happening and how it should be dealt with.
Violations will vary depending on the order that you and your ex are required to follow. As the custodial parent, it is as much your job as your ex's to follow all rules set out. For you, this might mean allowing free or previously agreed upon communication between your ex and your child, as well as ensuring that your child gets to their visits on time as set out in the order. For your ex, this means attending visits as scheduled and returning your child to you at the agreed upon place and time. For the both of you, this means no bad mouthing of the other parent.
Know Your Rights as the Custodial Parent
If you were granted sole custody by the judge, you have more rights as the parent of your child than your ex. This means it's important to understand what rights you have and how you can go about ensuring they're respected.
While many courts aim to provide both parents with equal rights, it isn't always in the best interest of the child. This means that one parent may be awarded both physical and legal custody and the other parent must respect those rights, as laid out in the court order. Physical custody is easy enough, but it can get difficult when knowing what legal rights you have. If you have full legal custody, this means you have the rights to make all decisions regarding your child, including the school they'll attend and the medical treatments they'll receive. As a non-custodial parent, your ex cannot interfere with any of your decisions, as doing so would qualify as a violation of the child custody order.
Know the Right Ways and Wrong Ways of Dealing with the Situation
When the rights of you and your child are abused, it can be difficult to remain calm and non-confrontational. If you're facing child custody violations, however, it's important to do just that.
If you feel that your rights as the custodial parent are being disrespected, it's time to contact your attorney. Unless your child has been kidnapped, abused, or neglected by the non-custodial parent, local police enforcement may not be able to get involved. Your lawyer, however, will be able to provide you with the best legal advice and help you to ensure your rights as the sole parent aren't disrespected again. Your lawyer will likely file a motion to comply on your behalf, and your ex will be required to answer to a judge for their violations. This motion may result in your ex facing fines or even jail time, and in extreme circumstances, visitation may be stopped altogether.
Child custody cases are never easy. If you feel that the child custody order you have in place is being violated by the non-custodial parent, it's time to consult with your attorney. With their help, you can remedy the situation and ensure your child's best interests are kept in mind.