Atlanta, GA Child Custody Enforcement Lawyer

When your co-parent refuses to abide by the custody arrangement and parenting plan you spent months negotiating, you will likely feel incredibly frustrated. Failing to adhere to the agreement is not only disruptive for the children, but it also makes it impossible for you to plan your time.

An Atlanta, GA child custody enforcement lawyer can pursue various means to get your co-parent to comply with the agreement. If necessary, a trusted family and divorce attorney can bring them to court and ask a judge to hold them in contempt. Although court action is a last resort, it often solves the problem and puts the responsibility where it belongs—on the non-compliant parent. Reach out today to begin reviewing the details of your claim.

Track Incidents of Noncompliance

When parents first separate, managing visits can be challenging. Everyone must get used to a new normal. It is a good idea to track pick-up and drop-off times and any other issues of concern.

Sometimes it becomes clear that a specific element of the plan is not realistic—for example, perhaps a co-parent cannot leave work and arrive at a pick-up promptly at 5:30 pm. It might make more sense to change the pick-up to 6:00 pm. This form of noncompliance has an easy fix, but more concerning conduct might be:

  • Canceling visits at the last minute;
  • Missing visits without notice;
  • Arriving on time for a visit, but the co-parent does not have the children ready;
  • Children refuse to participate in the visit, and the co-parent does not insist they cooperate;
  • Unauthorized third parties participating in visits;
  • Drug use, excessive drinking, or other risky behavior;
  • Imposing unduly harsh discipline;
  • Refusing to enforce agreed rules;
  • The co-parent bad-mouthing you or forcing the child to pick sides.

Individuals should document every time their co-parent does not adhere to any aspect of the parenting plan.

A conversation about expectations is a good first step. However, if the behavior does not change or only improves temporarily, speak with an Atlanta custody enforcement attorney. Escalating the response might be in order.

Seeking Enforcement of the Parenting Plan

A legal professional can try various strategies to achieve compliance with the parenting plan. Sometimes a call or letter to the parent explaining their legal responsibilities is enough to change their behavior. Calling the co-parent’s attorney and asking them to advise their client of the potential consequences is also often effective.

When parents have a court-ordered custody arrangement, asking a family court to intervene is an option. Individuals can request a Georgia custody enforcement attorney to prepare a petition to find the co-parent in contempt for failing to adhere to the parenting plan. However, the filing parent must prove the co-parent is intentionally interfering with the visitation schedule or other aspects of the plan. If the judge agrees, the co-parent could face fines and possible jail time.

Seeking an Emergency Change in Custody

Some custody violations are true emergencies. A parent must take immediate action if their co-parent:

  • Plans to leave the state or country with the child without permission;
  • Has engaged in family violence toward the children or in the children’s presence;
  • Has a mental health crisis while caring for the children;
  • Refuses to return the children per the custody order;
  • Has exposed them to crime, drug use, or a similar danger.

If there is reason to believe the children are in danger, involve the police. Law enforcement officers can do a wellness check and remove the children if the situation is dangerous.

Individuals can also go to family court in the jurisdiction where the child lives and complete a petition seeking an ex parte order for emergency custody. The judge will consider the request immediately. If the parent can demonstrate that the child’s well-being requires the emergency order, Georgia courts will grant it and schedule a hearing within 30 days. An Atlanta custody enforcement attorney can represent a parent at the hearing and present evidence demonstrating that the modification supports the children’s best interests.

Contact an Atlanta, GA Child Custody Enforcement Attorney

If your co-parent is not complying with your parenting plan, or if you have been served with a contempt petition, contact an Atlanta, GA child custody enforcement lawyer immediately. Our capable legal counsel can help you protect your relationships with your children and keep them safe.

Do not try to manage these critical issues alone. Reach out today to discuss your situation with an experienced member of our team.

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