Consequences Of Failing To Comply With a Child Custody Order
Most situations involving child custody arrangements are stressful, but they become extra challenging when the other parent violates custody orders. When family court establishes orders related to custody, child support, spousal support, and more, most people comply with the orders, but some choose to disregard those orders. However, the court takes these matters seriously and parents who choose not to comply with custody orders in Colorado are at risk of multiple repercussions, which can include contempt of court, loss of parenting time, fines, and even jail time.
If your child’s other parent is not complying with their custody orders, your Fort Collins family law attorney can help you take the necessary steps to enforce court orders and protect your child.
Parenting Time Disputes
Disputes regarding parenting time and custody orders are handled in accordance with Colorado state statute 14-10-129.5. If a parent chooses not to comply with a child custody order or parenting time schedule, your Fort Collins child custody lawyer can file a motion against the parent. If the allegations are adequate, the court will either set a hearing date or require mediation between the parties after the motion is filed. If mediation is ordered, the court will need to approve the agreement; if the issue cannot be resolved or if one parent continues to be uncooperative, a hearing will be scheduled.
If at the hearing the court finds that a parent has not complied with the order, they may issue a variety of consequences and actions:
- Issue a new order with additional terms and conditions
- Modify or reduce the responsibilities of the non complying parent
- Issue an order that changes the previous order, in an effort to meet the best interests of the child(ren)
- Require that one or both parents attend a parental education program, usually at the expense of the non complying parent
- Order the parents to participate in family counseling, usually at the expense of the non complying parent
- Order that the non complying parent post bond or security to promote compliance in the future
- Require that makeup parenting time be provided to the complying parent, usually with specific conditions
- Impose a fine or jail sentence on the non complying parent if they are found to be in contempt of court
- Take any other actions that they believe will promote the best interests of the child(ren)
Typically, the non complying parent will be required to pay the attorney fees, court costs, and other legal expenses regarding the motion. However, if the court finds that the parent did not violate the child custody order, the petitioning parent may be required to pay the legal costs. To avoid this, clear documentation along with legal guidance from your Fort Collins family law lawyer is recommended.
How Can I Enforce My Parenting Time?
Conflict is common in co-parenting situations, and sometimes one parent will struggle to get their court-ordered parenting time when the other parent is uncooperative or non compliant with child custody orders. In those situations, it’s best to seek legal advice from your Fort Collins family law lawyer, which may include the following solutions:
Call Law Enforcement
The police can, and often will, enforce a court order on the behalf of the cooperative parent. However, before doing so, it’s best to contact the uncompliant parent to remind them that they are in violation of the court order and to inform them that you will be contacting the police if they do not follow the order and provide the child(ren) immediately. If this is ineffective, it may be advisable to call law enforcement during your parenting time, inform them of your child custody order, and state that the other parent is withholding the child. Be sure to have a signed copy of your court order available to show the police officer.
File a Motion Regarding Parenting Time Disputes
Your Fort Collins child custody attorney can file a motion concerning parenting time. Because Colorado law states that a motion concerning parenting time disputes must have a hearing set as soon as possible, this motion is typically heard sooner than a motion for contempt, and may be more effective. The court may respond by ordering the other parent to pay your legal fees, establish a modified order that may be in the better interest of your child(ren), order mediation and family counseling, and find that the non complying parent is in contempt of court. Contempt of court is one way that the court can legally punish a party for violating their orders. First, the parent will have a chance to make amends for their violation; if they refuse, the consequences typically include fines or even jail time in more severe cases. If the other parent is repeatedly found to be in contempt of court, your case before the judge may be strengthened.
Contact Experienced Child Custody Lawyers in Colorado
If you have questions or challenges regarding your family law court orders, the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Fort Collins Divorce Lawyers are ready to discuss your case and help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential case review.