One of the most important issues divorcing parents will face during the process is child custody and visitation under New York law, which provides each of you with rights and responsibilities. Absent grounds to limit participation, both parents will share in important decision-making on how to raise the child. For practical reasons, the child will reside primarily with one parent and the other will have visitation rights. Whether you come to an agreement on a parenting plan or the judge determines the arrangement, the court’s custody and visitation order is binding upon both parents.
As such, while you would hope to never be in a situation to enforce it, it is good to know that you do have legal options if your child’s other parent violates the parenting plan. Getting assistance from a New York child custody lawyer is critical to ensure a smooth process, but an overview can help provide a legal framework.
Examples of Child Custody Violations in New York: Parties may harbor feelings of hostility and resentment before, during, and after divorce, which may be the motivation behind one parent’s interference with child custody and/or visitation. Still, emotions do not justify violating the court’s order, so you must treat the situation seriously. Some of the following examples can help you recognize the signs of misconduct involving the parenting plan:
- Tardiness when transporting the child;
- Making excuses for not being able to comply with the custody or visitation schedules;
- Outright refusals to allow a co-parent to exercise his or her rights;
- Leaving the child alone during parenting time; and,
- Interruptions during parenting time, such as through constant texts or phone calls.
One major violation of the child custody and visitation order involves a co-parent moving with the child, either within New York or out-of-state. The court must approve any relocation and enter the appropriate order, even if the other parent consents.
What You Can Do About Child Custody Violations: Interference with the child custody and visitation terms in a parenting agreement is more than just an inconvenience for the other parent; disruptions can be a serious matter that you must address appropriately and in a timely manner. In some cases, with the help of your respective attorneys, you may be able to resolve issues by agreement.
However, if issues continue, you may have to take legal action. You have remedies through the court system, since New York State courts retain jurisdiction for purposes of enforcing court orders. The process starts by filing a Custody/Visitation Enforcement Petition, which should include:
- A copy of all relevant court orders and your New York parenting plan;
- Bullet points for each term of the plan that has been violated;
- Evidence regarding the co-parent’s interference, including texts, emails, and other messages; and,
- A request for relief.
In your request for the court to take action, you might ask the judge to modify the parenting plan, award attorneys’ fees for your efforts, and order repayment if you sustained losses due to the violations. When the co-parent’s misconduct was extreme or continuous, the court may even find him or her to be in contempt of court. Penalties may include fines and jail time.
Get Enforcement Help from a New York Child Custody Attorney
If you have exhausted other resolutions and legal action is the only way to address a violation of the court’s child custody order, you can trust our team at The Mandel Law Firm. We are ready to handle the complicated legal tasks and protect your rights as a parent. To learn more about the process, please call our Manhattan office at (646) 770-3868 or visit us online to set up a consultation with an experienced lawyer.