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What Happens When One Parent Violates a Child Custody Agreement in California?

March 15, 2022, In Child Custody

At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our Los Angeles divorce attorney knows that one of the most difficult parts of dissolving a marriage is deciding what goes into the child custody agreement.

Whether your California divorce was finalized through private negotiations, mediation, or litigation, child custody, visitation, and parenting plans remain important parts of the agreement long after the parents have split.

So, what happens when one parent violates a legally binding child custody agreement?

The answer is, it depends on the violation. Here is what parents need to know.

Parents Cannot Take the Law Into Their Own Hands

Any divorced parent can tell you that it is not unusual for their custody swap to be accompanied by some form of interference.

Whether one parent is consistently late picking up or dropping off the kids, or if there is a delay in child support payments, these are not legal touchpoints that allow the other parent to revoke their custody or visitation agreement.

California parents need to understand they cannot take the law into their own hands and deny the other parent access to the child once child custody court orders are in effect.

Taking or keeping a child away from the other parent in violation of a California child custody and visitation order can amount to child abduction under California Law.

What Can I Do If My Ex-Spouse is Violating Our California Child Custody Order?

Child custody court orders specifies when a child is to be with each parent.

If the other parent is refusing to allow you access to the child during the designated parenting time, contact the police and ask them to enforce the order.

If you believe your child is in immediate danger of physical or emotional harm from the other parent, you may take or keep the child for safety reasons until the circumstances can be legally assessed.

However, you must follow up with a legal action that will require supporting evidence that their safety was in danger, or you may be held in contempt of court for violating the custody order.

If you believe this is an emergency, and that your children are in danger, but you cannot contact them, contact the police and the child abduction unit at your local district attorney’s office.

If one parent is intentionally violating parenting orders, the other parent can also file a contempt action in court.

Once the matter is reviewed by the court, the noncomplying parent may be ordered to follow the custody order, or face the legal penalties associated with their behavior, which could include jail time.

If you are considering filing a contempt action, or if you believe that the actions of the other parent are severe enough to require a change in your parenting orders, contact our skilled Los Angeles child custody attorney at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC today to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Contact WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have questions about your existing child custody agreement, or how you can pursue a modification, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.


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If you are considering a Divorce in Los Angeles, CA, Contact our experienced Attorney Today and Get a Free Consultation.

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