It is frustrating when your child’s other parent fails to comply with a custody or visitation order. Not only does it negatively impact you, but it also directly affects your child’s day-to-day routine.
If you need legal help to enforce a child access order, a dedicated Palm Beach County attorney could guide you through the legal process. Our team is experienced in upholding custody and visitation orders and is ready to assist you. Contact a West Palm Beach child custody/visitation enforcement lawyer today to learn more.
Mediating a Child Custody or Visitation Dispute
A first step in enforcing court-ordered visitation schedules is for parents to attempt to resolve the dispute before initiating court proceedings. With the assistance of their attorneys, parties can sit down and discuss how to revise an existing order to ensure that it meets their children’s needs and they both are able to comply with it.
If the parents cannot compromise and resolve their dispute, mediation can be a great option. Often, the assistance of a neutral third party can eliminate the need for court intervention. A skilled child custody/visitation enforcement attorney in West Palm Beach could help parents determine if mediation is the best route for them.
Filing to Enforce Child Custody and Visitation Orders
When the direct engagement between parents is unsuccessful, either parent can file a Motion for Civil Enforcement and Contempt of Court. Suppose the parent seeking enforcement proves to a judge that the other parent willfully disobeyed a court order for custody or visitation. In that case, the court could hold the non-compliant parent in contempt and require them to comply with the order or face severe sanctions.
At a contempt hearing, a judge will hear each party’s testimony and consider any relevant documents they wish to present. For example, a parent may have saved voicemails, emails, texts, or social media posts demonstrating the other parent’s noncompliance.
If the court finds a parent in contempt, a judge could order the offending parent to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fees for pursuing the enforcement action and even incarcerate the parent for the most severe violations. A judge could also impose additional sanctions, including but not limited to:
- Granting the nonoffending parent make-up time for any missed visitation due to the other parent’s noncompliance pursuant to Florida Family Code §61.13
- Ordering the offending parent to attend parenting classes
- Requiring the offending parent to pay the costs associated with transporting the children to visits
- Ordering the offending parent to pay monetary fines and court costs
In some cases, the offending parent will not comply with a court order even after they have been held in contempt and sanctioned. If that occurs, a parent may have little choice but to request a modification of custody or ask a judge to substantially limit that parent’s visitation. Because the states are high in child custody/visitation enforcement cases, it is always best for a parent to consult with a knowledgeable Palm Beach County attorney before pursuing legal action.
Consult with a West Palm Beach Child Custody/Visitation Enforcement Attorney
If you struggle with a co-parent who refuses to comply with a custody or visitation order, you have legal options. If mediation is unsuccessful, a contempt petition can sometimes bring the other parent into compliance.
When neither negotiations nor contempt sanctions are sufficient to resolve the dispute, custody modification is another avenue to pursue with a skilled West Palm Beach child custody/visitation enforcement lawyer. Our firm’s respected attorneys are well-versed in the state’s child custody laws and have assisted many parents throughout Palm Beach County. Call today to learn more about your options.