Custody orders are court orders with which parents must comply. However, too many mothers and fathers fail to appreciate the legality of these documents. In some cases, this is because of ill will toward the other parent; others do not think the penalties of a violation are that serious.
But if you are a parent with a custody order in place, it is crucial to know that there are very real consequences for violating court orders. Not only can parents face severe penalties, but children pay a price as well.
Custody violation penalties for parents
There can be numerous details in a custody order or parenting plan. Depending on the case, an order can include:
- Which parent has legal custody
- The parenting schedule
- Travel or residential restrictions
- Details on transition and exchange guidelines
- Provisions for modifying the order
- Guidance on resolving disputes
A parent could violate this order in several ways. They might fail to return a child to the other parent, make legal decisions for the child they are not allowed to make, or interfere with the other parent’s time with their child.
In any of these cases, there can be a range of consequences, from financial fines and loss of parenting time to criminal charges and incarceration.
Other repercussions to consider
Parents are not the only ones who can suffer when there are custody violations. A child can also face adverse outcomes.
Depending on the nature of a violation, a child can experience increased stress, depression or anxiety when parents are fighting over custody. They can also feel neglected or put in danger when a parent does not comply with court orders.
Further, the relationship between a parent and child can also suffer when parents break the rules. A child may no longer trust or want to spend time with a non-compliant parent.
Preventing these penalties
The simplest way to prevent the penalties of violating child custody orders is to comply with them. If you feel you cannot do so or the other parent is having trouble complying, you can go to court to seek help with enforcement or modification of your parenting plan.