One of the most upsetting family law issues Texans face is child custody. And it is not just determining custody that presents challenges: enforcing custody orders can also be problematic.
If you have a custody order in place, you should know what happens when someone violates a court order.
What constitutes a violation?
There are many ways a person could violate or interfere with a custody order. Some of the more common violations include:
- Refusing to bring the child back to the parent
- Failing to show up for custody exchanges
- Taking the child out of the country without permission from the parent and/or courts
- Engaging in prohibited behaviors around the child (e.g., drinking or using drugs)
- Manipulating a child in an effort to turn the child against the other parent unfairly
- Making educational, medical or religious decisions without having the right to do so
- Deliberately scheduling events to disrupt the other person’s parenting time
A parent who violates a custody order in these or other ways can face serious consequences.
Custody enforcement measures
If a violation is a minor inconvenience or isolated incident that does not put a child in danger, parents may be able to discuss the incident and find ways to prevent it from happening again. Alternatively, a letter or call from an attorney may be able to clear up any confusion.
However, when a violation is egregious or persistent, official enforcement measures can be necessary.
Texas courts can make a person comply with a custody order through contempt proceedings. When a court finds a person in contempt, it can force the person to pay a fine or, in some cases, go to jail.
If you have concerns about enforcing a custody order, or if you are worried that the existing order does not protect a child’s best wishes, you can talk to a Family Law attorney about emergency protections or a custody modification.
Should disputes regarding custody arise, it is best to tackle them as quickly as possible and through lawful avenues.