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What if someone doesn’t follow a custody order?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Child Custody

Georgia parents who divorce or stop living together typically need to establish a custody order. They may work together to set terms that they agree are reasonable or may go to court to have a judge decide what would be in the best interests of the children.

Once the Georgia family courts have approved a final custody order, both parents should do their best to uphold those arrangements. Unfortunately, sometimes one adult in the family consistently complies with the custody arrangement while the other parent does not.

What can a frustrated parent do when facing a co-parent’s non-compliance with a Georgia custody order?

Keep personal records

Sometimes, there will be a very clear documentation trail for custody order violations. One parent may email the other to cancel their scheduled parenting time or send notice via a parenting app. If there aren’t authoritative written records of canceled or changed parenting arrangements, then one parent may need to create such records. Written documentation of every canceled or delayed visit can help establish that one parent has not let the other see the children or has frequently failed to show up for their own parenting time. Those records can make a major difference if the matter needs to go back to family court.

Ask for a modification

Some parents only ask for time with their children to avoid child support. If one parent can show that the other has not shown up as scheduled and has also failed to request makeup parenting time after missing sessions with the children, the courts may agree to alter the custody order. When a parent does not make spending time with their children a priority, the courts may reduce the number of overnight visits they get. A modification can diminish the disruption and disappointment that the children experience.

Request enforcement

In the opposite scenario where one parent refuses to let the others spend time with the children, the family courts can potentially help. They can ask the courts to enforce the existing order. Custody enforcement actions can lead to an order for make-up parenting time or even a custody modification. The courts can also sometimes hold one parent in contempt of court because they have repeatedly denied the other time with the children without justification for doing so.

Oftentimes, parents facing custody order violations will need to talk with a lawyer even if they previously tried to handle their family law matters on their own behalf. Taking specific, thoughtful steps when dealing with a custody conflict can make a big difference for frustrated parents in Georgia.

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