Parents navigating child custody after a divorce or separation can be stressful for both parties. What happens when one parent violates the custody terms by not returning the child at the scheduled time or day? What about one parent violating the agreement by refusing to let the other parent see the child? When dealing with child custody violations, it is important to keep a few things in mind. The most important thing to remember is that verbal child custody agreements do not help prove a violation by either parent.

In order for a child custody agreement to be violated, there must be a court-recognized agreement in place. Parents should have a written custody agreement that also states specific arrangements such as which parent has the child on which days, holiday and birthday custody plans, and even school pick-up schedules. Another thing to remember with child custody agreements is that the plan should be shared with any pertinent caregivers, such as the school so they know not to let the child go with the parent if the parent tries to violate the child custody agreement by picking up the child outside of the agreement.

What Legal Actions Can I Take When an Ex Violates Child Custody?

If there is a child custody agreement in place and one parent continues to violate it, there are legal actions the other parent may take. The first step is to keep a record of when the other parent breaks the agreement with the date, time, and specifics of the detail. This will allow a child custody lawyer to present these incidents as part of the case for child custody violations. In California, parents may file a contempt action in court against the parent violating the agreement. This means the offending parent will face court and possible civil or criminal charges for not complying with the child custody agreement. Filing a contempt action can be done for violations such as one parent keeping another from their visitation time or a parent keeping a child past their scheduled custody visit.

What If the Child is in Danger?

There may be instances where the situation needs immediate intervention. If a parent believes their child is in danger or the other parent has violated the child custody agreement by not returning the child on time, calling the police is an option. The police may be able to locate the parent and child to force the noncomplying parent to comply with the custody order. A parent may also be able to cite kidnapping if the other parent has failed to return the child or communicate their whereabouts. If the child is in danger, a parent should take immediate action with their local authorities. If a parent continues to violate the custody agreement, a parent should seek out a child custody lawyer.

Which Child Custody Lawyers Ready to Help?

Child custody lawyers are skilled in the complexities and laws related to violations. If a parent finds violations happening frequently, a lawyer may be the ideal solution to ensure the agreement is upheld or the consequences are faced in court. A child custody lawyer will also help answer any questions, negotiate a new agreement when necessary, and assist clients in finding an ideal solution. Contact our law firm today at (310) 271-7675 for more information on how we can help.