The process of divorce is often complicated for spouses. These situations can become more difficult when children are involved. Parents who decide to divorce must settle arrangements for the future of their children. This includes determining a custody agreement. These agreements establish the parent the child lives with and how much parental influence is allowed in their life.
When a custody decision is made, it must be approved by the court. This is to ensure that the final decision is in the best interest of the child. Courts generally believe having both parents in the child’s life is what is best for them. However, this is not always the case. When the arrangements are approved by the court, they are considered the law. This means that if a parent does not follow the agreement, it can be enforced by the court.
How Do I Know My Agreement is Being Violated?
A custody arrangement can be violated if a parent does not follow what they agreed upon with their former spouse and the court. There are several ways that a custody agreement can be violated. This can include:
- Refusal to adhere to the visitation schedule
- Taking the children without notice
- Disrupting the relationship with your children
- Making legal decisions without authority
- Harming the child through habits or choices
What Do I Do if My Agreement Was Violated?
Custody agreements are considered the law once they are finalized. If a parent violates the agreement, they are breaking the law. These situations can be very difficult for a parent, as they often do not know what they can do to remedy the situation. It is important to know that there are steps a parent can take, including the following:
- Record incidents of child custody violations (when, where, what was said, etc.)
- Voice your concerns to your co-parent to reach an amicable solution without legal intervention
- Speak with an experienced child custody and visitation attorney
- Modify the custody agreement if it no longer suits the co-parent’s schedule or obligations
- File a motion for contempt if you are unable to resolve the violations
- Contact the police in extreme cases of violations
Enforcing Custody Arrangements
People often wonder how courts can force a co-parent to follow their custody arrangement. In the state of New Jersey, there are two main ways that courts can enforce the agreement. The most common way is Rule 1:10-3, also referred to as a “motion to enforce litigant’s rights.” The can result in a fine or possible incarceration.
The other enforcement method is Rule 5:3-7. Known as “Additional Remedies,” this can include the following:
- Compensatory time with the children
- Economic sanctions
- Modifying transportation arrangements
- Pick-up and return of the children in public spaces
- Counseling for children or parents
- Temporary or permanent modifications to the arrangement
- Participation by the violating parent in an approved community service program
- Issuance of a warrant if violations continue
Contact our Firm
If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Simpson & Russoniello is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.