When a parent doesn’t follow a child custody order

Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada LLP

The welfare of children is one of the most important things for couples who are parents to keep in mind if they make the decision to divorce. One of the most important decisions centers around child custody. When a family court judge in California initiates a child custody order, it is enforceable by law. What happens, though, if one parent doesn’t follow that order and, worse yet, leaves the country with the child without the consent of the other parent?

There are a few options a parent has when the other isn’t abiding by an order. He or she could contact the police to ask them to enforce the order. A contempt action could be filed with the court asking for a finding that the parent willfully disobeyed the order or the district attorney could be contacted, depending on the circumstances. Comprehensive records should be kept regarding visitation and other issues pertaining to the children in the event the case has to go back to court.

If one parent fears the other may kidnap the child, there are precautions that can be taken. They include keeping accurate records of the children, having up-to-date photographs of the kids at all times as well as having as much information about the parent as possible such as Social Security number, bank account, or driver’s license number. Children should also be taught how to make phone calls and to memorize their phone numbers.

Enforcing a child custody order can be complicated and may need to have an experienced attorney weigh in on the matter. A lawyer may be able to provide much-needed advice and suggest how to move forward regarding child custody issues. If a client feels his or her child may be vulnerable to abduction, getting legal advice is especially prudent.

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