Sharing custody of your child can be a difficult situation no matter the circumstances. Since child custody arrangements are normally decided in court, many parents wonder what would happen if they were to break their custody agreement. Sometimes, a child might indicate that they don’t want to spend time with one co-parent or guardian. Yet, with few exceptions, you can face repercussions for violating a legally binding contract. To learn more about this issue, read this blog or contact a Somerset County Child Custody Attorney today!
CAN I LEGALLY REFUSE TO SEND MY CHILD TO COURT-ORDERED VISITATION?
In most situations, you cannot refuse to comply with legally-binding custody arrangements. This is because it’s fairly common for co-parents with tumultuous relationships to try to refuse each other visitation rights for petty reasons. For example, a father could try to prevent their child from seeing their mother because he doesn’t like the mother’s new partner. Another example would be if a mother stopped sending her child to the father’s house because she doesn’t agree with what snacks the father is feeding the child. Neither of these scenarios would be a valid excuse for violating a legal agreement.
WHAT PENALTIES CAN I FACE FOR BREAKING MY CUSTODY AGREEMENT?
If you violate your legal custody agreement without a valid reason, there will likely be consequences. Some actions that the court may take include:
- Allowing the child’s other parent/guardian to spend makeup time with your child
- Temporarily or permanently altering custody arrangements
- Charging you with a criminal offense for violating a legal agreement
- Requiring you to perform community service
WHAT SHOULD I DO IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION?
The only scenario where you would be able to violate your custody agreement would be an emergency where you have a legitimate reason to believe your child’s life could be in danger. If your child’s other parent/guardian makes threats against you or the child, you can report this to the proper authorities and seek emergency full custody of your child. You should always immediately report any signs of abuse to child protective services. If your co-parent threatens to kidnap your child, you can notify the police who can freeze your child’s passport to ensure they don’t attempt to leave the country with your child. An attorney can also help you to earn emergency full custody of your child.
If you believe you might need to seek emergency custody of your child, you’ll need a trusted family law attorney who has your best interests in mind. Thankfully, Siragusa Law Firm is here to fight for you! Contact our firm today for an initial consultation.