Child custody is one of the most challenging issues to resolve in a divorce, so it can be frustrating when your co-parent does not follow a child custody order. By working with a capable child custody enforcement attorney, you can enforce the order and protect your parental rights.
At Aiello & DiFalco LLP, we regularly help clients on Long Island and in New York City resolve post-divorce child custody disputes. Often, once the custody agreement has broken down to the point you are consulting a family law attorney, we will file the appropriate application with the court in order to have leverage to negotiate a resolution. You can trust us to fight for what is in the best interests of your children. Contact our office today to arrange a consultation.
When Child Custody Arrangements Break Down & Need Enforcement
Parents often optimistically agree to joint legal custody. They agree to share decision-making about raising their children. In most cases, however, the children will reside primarily with one parent for practical reasons and the other parent will have a parenting time schedule.
Unfortunately, the resentment of a divorce can sometimes fester, or the optimistic approach the parties agreed upon in good faith does not work. Whether you agreed to a parenting plan or the court-determined custody arrangements, child custody orders are binding for both parents. Examples of serious child custody order violations include:
- Refusing to comply with the custody and visitation schedule
- Frequently being late when transporting the child
- Failure to consult about major decisions
- Inability to reach major decisions due to a difference of opinion
- Chronically showing up late or early for visitation
- Leaving the children alone during parenting time
- Interrupting parenting time with intrusive phone calls/video calls
- Failing to take the child to school or medical appointments
- Abusing alcohol and/or drugs in the child’s presence
- Moving with the child to another city or state
On the other hand, minor infractions, such as a parent being late a few times for a visitation exchange, may not be a reason to ask the court to enforce the child custody order. Often, it depends on the exact terms of your agreement and the specific facts of the purported violation. Before you take legal action, it is wise to consult with a child custody attorney to determine whether negotiating a solution with the child’s other parent is possible.
Enforcing A Child Custody Order in Garden City
Failure to comply with a custody agreement can be more than an inconvenience to the other parent. Child custody violations are a serious matter that must be dealt with in an appropriate and timely manner.
If a violation has occurred, bringing an enforcement application is important to protect your rights. Once you have asserted your position to the court, the parents’ attorneys may be able to reach an agreement to modify the child custody and visitation arrangement.
If the disruptions persist, however, there are legal remedies available and the court may agree to enforce the child custody order. With the help of an experienced child custody attorney, you can file a custody/visitation enforcement petition with the family court. The petition should include the following information:
- A copy of your parenting plan and all relevant court orders
- A list for each term of the parenting plan or custody order that has been violated with the dates and times
- Evidence about the co-parent’s interference, such as texts, emails, and other messages
- A request for relief
Once an enforcement petition has been filed, a hearing will be held and the court will decide how to resolve the situation. As with all custody determinations, the court will act in the best interest of the child. If the court finds that the other parent has violated the custody order or parenting plan, the judge may:
- Hold a parent in contempt of court
- Modify the parenting plan
- Award you additional days to make up for lost time with your child
- Order the other parent to pay your attorneys’ fees and court costs
If the court finds that the other parent willfully violated the custody order, that parent may be held in contempt, which can result in incarceration or other penalties. This is typically not the preferred outcome, but the threat of contempt can be an effective tool to secure enforcement.
How Our Garden City Firm Can Help
We all want what’s best for our children, but a parent who fails to follow a child custody order or parenting plan can disrupt the family’s delicate balance and cause unnecessary emotional distress for your children.
When you meet with us, we will take the time to learn about your situation and explain the legal remedies available to you.
Contact Our Experienced Long Island Child Custody Enforcement Attorney
If your co-parent is refusing to follow the parenting plan or interfering with your visitation rights, don’t take matters into your own hands by using self-help. Our legal team is here to help you find the best possible solution and enforce the child custody order when all else fails. Contact our office today to get started with an experienced child custody attorney.
Aiello & DiFalco help clients with the enforcement of child custody orders in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester, and New York City.