As a parent, you may be understandably frustrated if it took a lot of hard work to reach a fair custody agreement, only to have the other parent refuse to obey its terms. Non-compliance with a custody order can disrupt your child’s day-to-day routine and your quality of life.
If your child’s other parent is not abiding by an existing order or you have been accused of failing to comply, an experienced Alpharetta child custody enforcement lawyer can help. A compassionate custody attorney from our legal team can take quick action to resolve the situation and get you and your child’s life back on track.
Most parents attempt to abide by court-ordered custody terms to maintain stability for themselves and their children. When a parent disregards an order, everyone is affected. The following actions on the part of a parent may warrant legal action:
If your child’s other parent refuses to follow your custody order’s terms, you should seek help from a knowledgeable child custody enforcement attorney.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-9-3 encourages ongoing contact between parents and their children. When one parent disobeys a custody order and denies the other parent time with their child, a court can use its contempt powers to sanction the offending parent.
Contempt is the legal process that permits one party to seek enforcement of a court order against the other. Any failure by a parent to fully comply with a custody order’s terms could result in a finding of contempt.
To initiate a contempt action, a parent must file a pleading in court detailing the other party’s alleged violations of the custody order. For example, a parent may list when and how often the opposing party picked up or returned their child late.
At a contempt hearing, the parent seeking enforcement must prove that the other party willfully disobeyed the custody order. This is often interpreted to mean that the non-compliant could have complied but deliberately chose not to. If a judge deems the evidence sufficient to support the petitioning parent’s allegations, they can hold the non-compliant parent in contempt of court.
Contempt proceedings are serious legal actions. A finding of contempt could result in substantial fines, sanctions, and jail time. A judge could also order the offending parent to pay the other parent’s legal fees for filing and prosecuting the contempt petition.
In the most extreme cases of non-compliance, a contempt finding may not be enough to stop a non-compliant parent from disobeying a court order. In that situation, it may be necessary to consult a well-practiced child custody enforcement lawyer about modifying your arrangement.
Parties disputing custody or visitation issues in Alpharetta may be required to attend mediation before going to court for a hearing. If one party fails to comply with a custody order, a judge may order both parents to work with a neutral third-party mediator to resolve their case. Through mediation, parties can openly discuss the situation and reach a compromise that benefits them and their children.
Mediation can be an excellent option for enforcement disputes because it enables parties to work together to find a solution. If parents do reach an agreement, they can submit a consent order to the court and dismiss the contempt petition. An experienced child custody enforcement attorney can fully explain the mediation process in Alpharetta and how it may benefit you.
If your co-parent seriously or repeatedly violates your child custody agreement, it may be time to get a knowledgeable attorney involved. A seasoned lawyer on our team can assist you in enforcing child custody in Alpharetta and, if necessary, represent you at a contempt hearing. Call today to learn more.