The average person relies on the belief that the other person will religiously follow any order passed by the Court. However, there are some instances where people refuse to follow court orders, whether intentionally and willfully or due to some exceptional circumstances. The COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis has created issues for many family law disputes. I have witnessed a rise in concerns of several people during the pandemic just because the other parent refuses to follow the court orders. Family law court orders include children to travel to the other parent for parental time or visitation ordered by the court.
The Courts have the power to enforce their orders and rules. Although parents should follow any court orders pertaining to custody and child support involving their child in an ideal world, this doesn’t always happen. Co-parenting with a person who is unable to abide by the rules laid down by the court can be stressful. In fact, a refusal to follow the responsibilities set out in custody and support orders would undoubtedly cause uncertainty and chaos in the child’s life as well.
Generally, if the other person refuses to follow a Court Order, there is a way to put the case back to court to help ensure that the order is complied with and the disobedient partner is disciplined for the violations. With the help of your lawyer, a Motion for Contempt can be filed. Court orders are enforceable by the contempt of court powers. If anyone refuses to obey a court order’s provisions, they can be taken back to court and punished. Punishments can include fines, attorney’s fees, prison time or even compulsory visitation times.
To take action, you need to keep track of all of the specific times and dates of your ex partners violations, and any violation may be claimed to present to the court. Common custody violations include one parent keeping the kids from the other parent, even though a court-ordered custody plan is in place; one parent abusing the other parent in front of the kids; or one parent not allowing the kids to speak to the other parent on the phone, even though the custody order provides that they are able to do so. Depending on the wording of the custody order, other provisions would most likely also be in violation. Make sure to keep note of each instance that is a violation of your court order as each of these will help you win a Motion for Contempt. So let’s suppose if your ex isn’t complying with a court order, you can always take action and now know what to do.
For those people who are refusing to follow court orders during the COVID-19 crisis, or any disputes over visits and custody, I recommend they should follow court orders, or if no orders are in place, the previous rule, unless doing so presents a risk of severe or irreparable harm to the children or a family member. Trying to ignore the rules isn’t an opportunity during the pandemic, and the consequences are likely to be tough on parents who manipulate the crisis to abuse their co-parents’ rights.