Co-parenting can be challenging even in good situations. While it can take a lot of communication and patience to carry out parenting plans in the real world, sometimes, one parent simply won’t cooperate. When that happens, there can be several ways to enforce custody orders, and the best course of action will depend on your situation.
The Monmouth County custody attorneys at Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law have vast experience helping parents and legal guardians enforce custody orders. We are ready to explain your rights and options. We’re also ready to take swift action to resolve the issues and help you protect what matters most—your child(ren), as well as your time and relationship with them.
When Should I Go to Court to Enforce Child Custody Orders?
Violations of parenting time orders often come in the form of one parent refusing to let children spend agreed-upon time with the other parent. They are not so cut-and-dry in all cases, however. In fact, there can be several ways that parenting time agreements are violated—and that one parent undercuts the other’s parental rights. Some examples include when one parent:
- Prevents a child from contacting the other parent: This could include limiting or forbidding the child from calling, texting, or emailing the other parent.
- Schedules activities during the other parent’s time: When one parent intentionally uses doctors’ appointments, extracurricular activities, playdates, and other events to interfere with the other parent’s visitation time, it can be necessary to go back to court to enforce custody orders.
- Talks negatively about the other parent: While this doesn’t impact physical custody, it can contribute to parental alienation and constitute “inappropriate interference,” which is generally a violation of parenting plans in New Jersey.
How Do I Enforce Child Custody Orders in Monmouth County?
Generally, family courts strongly encourage parents and legal guardians to try to resolve custody disputes outside of court. Consequently, mediation is usually the first recourse when there are allegations that at least one parent is failing to comply with the parenting plan. When one parent is continually or egregiously violating the parenting plan, however, it may be time to:
- File an incident report or criminal complaint with police: If you believe your child is in danger, it’s always best to contact local police immediately. In the event, the other parent is hours late to drop off a child or you fear violence during the exchange, it’s also important to contact the police to help you enforce your parenting plan on the spot.
- File a“motion to enforce litigant’s rights” with the family court: This is an official petition asking the court to order the other parent to comply with an existing parenting plan. It may also request that the court take certain punitive actions against the non-compliant parent. You can download a “motion to enforce litigant’s rights” form here. Once this form is fully completed and filed with the court, a copy of the filing will need to be served to the other parent.
What Penalties Can the Court Impose?
New Jersey law gives the family courts lots of discretion to impose an array of potential penalties for failure to comply with parenting plans. These can include (and are not necessarily limited to):
- Mandatory counseling
- Community service
- Temporary or permanent modifications to the parenting plan
- A bench warrant and/or incarceration
Can I Stop Paying Child Support If the Other Parent Violates Our Custody Agreement?
If you stop payments, you will also likely be violating a court order, which can create more problems for you and your standing in a custody case down the line. Although going to court to enforce custody orders can take time, it is always better to do that, instead of trying to take matters into your own hands.
Specifically, leveraging support payments or taking other punitive actions to try to get back at a parent who is violating a parenting plan can backfire and only serve to complicate a case. As tempting as it can be to want to take punitive action yourself, it’s always in your best interest—and your child’s best interest—to take the case to court and let the judge handle the matter.
Get the Help You Need Enforcing a Custody Agreement: Contact Us
Custody disputes are never easy, but they can be less difficult to get through with the representation of the Red Bank custody lawyers at Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law. Our 5-star family law firm is dedicated to helping our clients protect what matters most to them during some of the most difficult disputes of their life.
With more than a century of combined legal experience, we have what it takes to provide tireless, strategic advocacy to protect your rights and interests whenever custody disputes arise.
Call (732) 431-0150 for essential legal advice and extraordinary representation in your child custody case.
The reality is that custody enforcement cases can be some of the more complicated family law cases to bring to court, especially when both sides may be hurling allegations at each other. Our Red Bank custody attorneys can provide priceless support and counsel for these cases, helping our clients:
- Stay focused on the big picture and their child’s best interests
- Balance their emotional and financial needs to determine and pursue the best course of action
- Craft and present persuasive, effective cases so they have an optimal chance of achieving their objectives and favorable outcomes.
Let us tell you more about how we can help you during a confidential, no-obligation case evaluation. Getting answers can be the first step towards protecting and asserting your rights in a custody enforcement case.