When parents separate or divorce, one of the most important issues to be resolved is child custody. A custody agreement is a legally binding document that outlines how parents will share custody of their children. The agreement is designed to promote the best interests of the child and ensure that both parents have access to their children.
However, custody agreements are not always followed. In some cases, one parent may refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, which can have serious consequences for both parents and their children.
So, what happens when a custody agreement is broken? Let`s take a closer look.
1. Court Intervention
If one parent refuses to abide by the custody agreement, the other parent can go to court and file a motion for enforcement. The court will then review the custody agreement and determine whether the offending parent is in violation of the agreement. If the court finds that the offending parent is in violation, it can take a number of actions, including:
– Ordering the offending parent to comply with the custody agreement.
– Modifying the custody agreement to better suit the child`s best interests.
– Imposing fines or other penalties on the offending parent.
2. Loss of Custody
If a parent repeatedly violates the custody agreement, the court may decide to take away that parent`s custody rights. This is a drastic measure, but it is designed to protect the child`s best interests. If a parent loses custody, he or she may still have visitation rights, but the child will primarily live with the other parent.
3. Criminal Charges
In some cases, violating a custody agreement can result in criminal charges. For example, if a parent takes a child out of state without permission from the other parent, he or she may be charged with kidnapping. Similarly, if a parent refuses to return a child to the other parent at the end of a visitation period, he or she may be charged with interference with custody.
4. Legal Fees
If a parent has to go to court to enforce a custody agreement, he or she may be responsible for legal fees. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if the offending parent repeatedly violates the agreement.
In conclusion, breaking a custody agreement can have serious consequences. If you are a parent and you believe the other parent is violating the custody agreement, it is important to take action. Contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights and the best interests of your child.