Enforcing Child Custody Agreements
By Fred Dunsing on May 13, 2020
Divorces involving children tend to be contentious. Couples seldom agree on how much time a child should spend with each parent. During divorce proceedings, the court settles on a child custody arrangement that it believes is in the best interest of the child. Once a child custody agreement is in place, it is legally binding.
Although child custody agreements cannot be changed without court approval, some parents fail to follow these orders. Child custody lawyers Fred A. Dunsing and Joseph W. Galera discuss the options available to clients from Denver, CO, Avon, CO, Vail Valley, CO, and surrounding areas, who are struggling to enforce child custody agreements.
Child custody agreements are court orders, which technically make them enforceable by the law. Because of this, if one parent is refusing to return a child as scheduled, or if they have taken a child without the other parent’s knowledge, the police can be called. As long as a parent can provide the child custody arrangement and prove the infraction, the police should enforce the agreement, either by calling the other parent to bring the child home, or by escorting the parent to pick up the child.
Unfortunately, police intervention can be traumatizing to a child, and is likely to increase animosity between parents. Furthermore, although child custody agreements are legally enforceable, some police officers may still hesitate to get involved in family matters. If a parent’s own attempts to have a child custody agreement enforced are unsuccessful, he or she may want to carefully consider whether police should be involved. Of course, if a parent fears for the safety of a child, police intervention is always the best option.
File a Court Motion
Whether parents chooses to report a child custody violation to the police or not, they should absolutely file a motion with the court as soon as possible. A Motion to Enforce lets the court know that the opposing parent is violating child custody agreements or denying visitation.
A Motion to Enforce is considered a priority matter, so a court hearing should be scheduled within 30 days of filing. When representing our clients in a Motion to Enforce hearing, our attorneys may ask the court to:
- Reaffirm the custody and visitation schedule
- Credit for days of custody and visitation of time lost
- Have the violating parent provide financial compensation for legal fees related to the motion
- Fine the violating parent
Request a Child Custody Amendment
If a child custody violation is an isolated incident, then the court is unlikely to act unless other circumstances are involved. However, if a parent repeatedly denies the other parent visitation rights, or if the parent commits a significant infraction, such as taking the child out of state without permission, then our clients should consider requesting a child custody amendment. In these types of situations, the court may alter the child custody arrangement to limit the amount of time spent with the violating party, or even deny custody altogether.
Reach Out to Our Legal Team
If you are struggling to enforce a child custody agreement, family law attorneys Fred A. Dunsing and Joseph W. Galera would be happy to discuss your legal options and advise you of your best course of action. To discuss your situation, send a message to our legal team or call (303) 758-8981 at your earliest convenience.
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