Similar to spousal support and child support orders, parents subject to child custody orders must strictly follow the terms of that order and cannot legally deviate from them unless a court approves a modification or replacement order. Unfortunately, enforcing this particular type of custody can be a uniquely complicated endeavor, as it often necessitates involvement not only from family courts, but potentially from law enforcement authorities as well.
If your child’s other parent has breached the terms of your custody arrangement, or if you are concerned they may do so in the near future, contacting a Ventura County child custody enforcement lawyer should be a high priority. Once retained, a qualified child custody attorney could explain what actions you could take to seek enforcement of this kind of order and represent you and your child throughout the process of doing so.
Custody orders approved by California state courts generally specify exactly where a child should be and which parent or guardian should have custody over them, including on weekends, holidays, special occasions like birthdays, and potentially during extracurricular activities. Depending on the circumstances, it may also establish the circumstances under which parents jointly share the right to perform actions like picking a child up from school or taking them on vacations, as well as neutral locations where the child’s parents will pick up and drop off the child between custodial periods.
Any time a parent who is subject to such an order acts contrary to the order’s exact terms, it may qualify as a legally actionable violation of that order. This could entail withholding a child from the parent who should have legal custody over them at a particular time, interfering with the other parent’s custodial or visitation period, or even just arriving late to an arranged drop-off or pick-up. A Ventura county child custody enforcement attorney could examine a parent’s unique circumstances and determine whether they have grounds to seek formal enforcement of a child custody order from a court, from law enforcement, or from both.
If a parent believes a custody order violation presents an immediate risk of physical or emotional harm to their child, their first move should be immediately contacting local police or the Ventura County District Attorney’s office to ensure the child has not been abducted and to take prompt action if they have. In less severe situations, it may be best to file a motion in court to have a parent who has meaningfully or repeatedly violated a custody order held in “contempt.”
If a petition for a co-parent to be held in contempt of court is successful, the co-parent may be subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, potentially including jail or prison time in the most serious situations. Whether a parent’s goal is simply to enforce an existing agreement or penalize a co-parent for endangering a child, assistance from a child custody enforcement lawyer in Ventura County could be crucial to effectively pursue their desired legal outcome.
Enforcement of child custody orders is an immensely important task to which local police departments, state court systems, and even federal law enforcement authorities devote significant attention and resources. Learning your child’s other parent has violated a custody order and potentially put your child in danger can be understandably overwhelming. You should not pressure yourself to handle this delicate and legally complex situation on your own.
Instead, you should strongly consider hiring a Ventura County child custody enforcement lawyer to help you pursue the best possible outcome for yourself and for your child. Learn more by calling today.