Call Today 630.793.6337

Enforcing a Child Custody Order

Child custody agreements are often complex. They may spell out who the child will live with, who the child will spend weekends with, who the child will spend vacations and holidays with, and so on. Parents might not like the terms of the agreement, but once the court issues a child custody order those terms must be obeyed. If either parent violates a custody order the other parent may enforce it in court.

Common Custody Order Violations

Actions that constitute violations of a child custody agreement include:

  • Not respecting visitation rights. Divorced couples do not always respect the other parent’s scheduled time with their child. For example, the noncustodial parent might bring the child back home later than the agreed-upon time, or the custodial parent might schedule an activity that prevents the child from visiting with the other parent.
  • Attempts to alienate the other parent. Even though divorced parents might not feel warmly toward each other, courts expect them not to talk badly about each other to their child. Custody agreements often include language forbidding such bad mouthing.
  • Taking the child without the other parent knowing. In some cases taking the child without the other parent’s knowledge is tantamount to kidnapping. It becomes more difficult to enforce the custody agreement if the parent takes the child out of the state.
  • Not considering the best interests of the child. Some custody agreements include specific prohibitions, like not allowing smoking in the house. This might be because the child has asthma or another health condition that is aggravated by secondhand smoke.

There are many other actions that might constitute a custody order violation. Contact an experienced attorney if you discover that the other parent has purposefully violated the agreement.

How to Enforce a Child Custody Order

It is possible that a parent might accidentally violate the custody agreement. In that case, the abiding parent could remind the other parent of the terms of the agreement before taking any legal action. If the violating parent refuses to cooperate then that is when the abiding parent should contact an attorney.

Because the custody agreement is a court order, the abiding parent can ask that the court hold the violating parent in contempt. “Civil contempt is intended to enforce the rights of private parties and compel obedience to orders or decrees for the benefit of opposing parties.” A court can only hold parents in contempt of an order it issued. If the parents worked out a verbal arrangement then that cannot be enforced in court. The parent must present actual evidence that the other parent violated the court order.

Under the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Illinois courts have the authority to enforce custody agreements even when a parent takes the child to another state. But it becomes logistically more complicated when the police have to locate the violating parent and the child.

Our family law attorneys can walk you through the enforcement process.

Contact Us Today for Assistance

The passionate Naperville family law attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC, can help you enforce a child custody order in court. Contact us today for a free consultation if the other parent has violated the terms of your custody agreement.