What happens when a parent won’t follow a custody order?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Child Custody |

New Jersey custody orders typically include provisions that give both parents time with their children, although sometimes one parent has the children more than the other. Parents who have divorced or separated generally need to develop a schedule for custody exchanges that will work for their family and comply with the custody order created by the New Jersey family courts.

Unfortunately, some parents will not follow their court order but will instead seek to interfere in the relationship that the other parent has with the children. They may start refusing to let the children go with the other parent or intentionally shortening their parenting sessions.

What can a parent in New Jersey do when faced with a non-compliant co-parent who openly violates their custody order?

They need to remain compliant themselves

If someone wants to assert their rights as a parent and ask the New Jersey courts to enforce their custody order, they will need clear documentation of how their co-parent has violated the custody order. To hold the other parent accountable for canceling a parenting session, for example, the parent denied access to the children will usually need to show up for their parenting time.

Keeping clear written records of each time that the other parent has reduced or eliminated someone’s parenting time will be important. Occasionally, simply having a few weeks of records to show how often the other parent reduces someone’s time with the children could be enough to prompt some changes by discussing it with the other parent. Other times, it will be necessary to take the matter to court.

How the New Jersey family courts can help

There are generally two ways for a judge overseeing a family law matter involving custody issues to resolve a dispute related to one parent’s non-compliance with the custody order. In some cases, a judge can decide that the parent is in contempt of court and assess penalties accordingly. Other times, they can decide that they need to offer relief to the parent denied access to the children. They could grant them additional parenting time or even modify the custody order to reflect the non-compliance of the one parent.

When presenting a custody case for enforcement consideration, parents will typically want to frame the matter as an issue impacting their children’s best interests rather than a violation of their rights as a parent. Having the right approach and patience while resolving a custody issue will increase a New Jersey parent’s chance of getting the time with their children that they deserve.