Chattanooga Child Custody Enforcement Lawyer

Violations of child custody agreements can lead to contention between parents. Unfortunately, this conflict sometimes spills over to their children’s lives, causing unnecessary heartache for everyone.

If your child’s other parent refuses to adhere to the court order, an experienced Chattanooga child custody enforcement lawyer can explain how to remedy the situation. Our child custody attorneys assist parents with securing compliance with existing agreements and, if necessary, modifying custody if one parent continues to violate the order.

Common Ways Chattanooga Parents Violate Child Custody Orders

Most parents want to keep conflict with their child’s other parent to a minimum. Unfortunately, some parents are unable or unwilling to adhere to a custody order. While no list is exhaustive, some of the factual scenarios leading to custody violations include a parent:

  • Refusing to provide a child’s out-of-state travel itinerary to the other parent
  • Using drugs or alcohol in the child’s presence in contravention of the order’s terms
  • Unreasonably withholding the child from the other parent
  • Enrolling a child in religious instruction without the other parent’s consent
  • Changing a child’s pediatrician or another healthcare provider without the other parent’s agreement
  • Consistently arriving late for pick-up and drop-off of the child
  • Denigrating the other parent to the child
  • Failing to take the child to scheduled activities

While these actions demonstrate a parent’s violation of the ‘letter’ of a custody agreement, failing to abide by the ‘spirit’ of a custody order can also be problematic. For example, an order may require each parent to encourage a positive and loving relationship between their child and the other parent. If one parent nevertheless speaks negatively about the other parent to the child and consistently belittles them in the child’s presence, that parent may be guilty of violating the order.

However, a parent needs to distinguish between a parent’s deliberate non-compliance and unintended violations. The actions of a parent who takes their child on an overseas vacation without telling the other parent are very different from those of a parent who absentmindedly stays with their child at a music festival longer than they intended. A capable attorney in Chattanooga could help determine if a child custody violation warrants filing a petition for enforcement or contempt of court.

Enforcing Child Custody Orders in Family Court

A custody order is legally binding on both parents, with the same force and effect as any other order issued by a judge. When one party violates its terms, the other party has the legal right to pursue enforcement.

If one parent fails to abide by child custody terms, the first step is for the other parent to continue to obey the existing custody order. A parent is not excused from obeying a court order based on the other parent’s non-compliance. Additionally, if a parent goes to court and requests relief, they should ensure that the other parent does not have grounds for a counterclaim against them.

Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, a judge can modify the custody arrangement, fine the parent who violated the agreement, or issue any other sanction they deem appropriate. Before taking any formal legal action, a parent in Chattanooga concerned about enforcing a custody order should consult an experienced attorney who can attempt to negotiate with the other party. If civil discussions do not yield positive results, the compliant parent can file a motion to enforce the custody order and a contempt petition.

Serious Child Custody Violations Can Warrant a Change in Custody

While custody orders are designed to provide children with long-term stability, even the most comprehensive order cannot anticipate every possible situation. As such, if a parent deliberately violates a significant custody order term or repeatedly disregards the order despite court warnings and sanctions, a judge may have little choice but to modify custody and grant the compliant parent more time with the child.

Additionally, if a parent’s continued violations put a child in jeopardy, a court can restrict that parent’s access to the child. For example, a parent who continues to abuse substances while caring for their child may lose custody or be permitted only supervised visitation. A dedicated local lawyer could help a parent file a motion to custody in the appropriate court.

Talk to a Chattanooga Child Custody Enforcement Attorney

Nothing is more important to you than your child’s safety and well-being. Contact an experienced Chattanooga child custody enforcement lawyer today if your co-parent refuses to adhere to a custody order. Our capable legal team could work to ensure that you and your child’s rights are protected.

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