If a parent fails to comply with their child custody order, they could be held in contempt of court and face additional legal punishments through a family access motion. If you need help enforcing your current parenting time arrangement, a St. Louis child custody enforcement lawyer can provide effective legal representation. A family law attorney who is well-versed in the state’s child custody laws can explain the legal issues involved in your case and your options for filing a motion requesting enforcement of your arrangement.
Overview of Child Custody Arrangements in St. Louis
There are two types of child custody to be aware of in St. Louis. Legal custody refers to a parent’s decision-making authority regarding the child’s health and well-being. On the other hand, physical custody indicates where the child will live on a regular basis.
There are two forms of child custody as it relates to both legal and physical custody: sole and joint. One parent can be granted sole physical and sole legal decision-making rights, or one parent could have sole physical custody while the other retains sole legal custody. Alternatively, both parents may share joint custodial rights.
Examples of Child Custody Violations
A St. Louis attorney may be needed if one of the former spouses violates an existing custody order. For example, if one parent abuses controlled substances or alcohol around the children or continuously fails to show up at court-appointed visitations, the other parent may have grounds to seek enforcement through the Court. You may have grounds for a motion to modify, a motion for contempt, or a family access motion.
Neglecting to tell the other parent where the child is or transporting the child to another state could also be considered custody violations. Depending on the extent of the parent’s violation, a judge could find them in contempt of court. The consequences of being charged with contempt can include loss of custodial privileges, jail time, and/or fines. The judge could also instruct the violating parent to pay the petitioning parent’s attorney costs.
Legal Options after a Custody Violation
When one parent violates an existing child custody order, the other may have several options to seek enforcement. If the child custody plan was entered by a judge at the time of a divorce, a violation by one party can put them in breach of a court order. In some cases, it may be better to negotiate a more mutually advantageous agreement with the non-compliant party, rather than petitioning for them to be held in contempt of court.
When considering a custody modification, the court would take into consideration things such as the relationship between the child and their parents, the child’s wishes, and how the child would adapt to the changed living situation. On the other hand, if the non-compliant party has engaged in serious custody violations such as missing visitation or using drugs around the children, filing an action for contempt or family access may be in the children’s best interest.
In situations where the original child custody plan was not issued or endorsed by the court, you will need to file a petition for custody. A St. Louis child custody enforcement attorney can help you better understand these complicated matters and how to best respond when the other parent violates the custody agreement or requests a modification.
Get Help from a St. Louis Child Custody Enforcement Attorney
A St. Louis child custody enforcement lawyer can diligently advocate on your behalf if your former spouse has failed to comply with the requirements of your child-sharing agreement. Our team can look at your case and counsel you regarding how to pursue legal recourse. Schedule your case consultation today.