What can I do if the Custodial parent is withholding the child? 25 Answers as of February 13, 2013

The mother of the child has taken the minor child to stay with her dying mother. She states she does not know when you will be back and when the visitation will resume for the non-custodial parent. There is a court ordered visitation schedule. Scheduled visitation has been violated and it has been three weeks since non-custodial parent has seen child. CP will not return phone calls. Is this a valid reason for CP to deny visitation? She is claiming she is within her legal rights.

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Law Office of Carla Robey Harcourt | Carla L. Robey Harcourt
File an indirect contempt application if there is order awarding visitation.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 2/13/2013
WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
In Nevada I would file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause re Contempt for violating court orders. You may want to offer to take the child while the mother is with her parent.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/13/2013
Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC
Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC | Lenore Tsakanikas
You need to file a motion to enforce the court order.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 2/13/2013
The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
No, she is not within her rights. She is violating a court order. You may choose to allow this due to the circumstances, but you are NOT required to do so. You should have your order filed with local law enforcement. Contact them, make a report and consult with a family law attorney in your area as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
First of all, consider this unique and tragic situation. Your child's maternal grandmother is dying. Would it not be a reasonable option to visit your child temporarily while the child spends time with her grandmother. If you feel you should resume your current court ordered visitation, give a written deadline to your ex to comply with the visitation before returning to court on an ex parte motion to have the child returned to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/12/2013
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    SHE IS NOT WITHIN HER RIGHTS! She is violating the court orders. She has no right to change the court orders and the fact her mother is sick and dying is sad, but it does not change the court orders so file contempt proceedings.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Only the judge who entered the current order giving you specific access rights to the child can determine whether the mother is violating his order under these circumstances and whether there should be some alternate rules in effect.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    If there is a court order in place regarding visitation, then she does not have the legal right to deny visitation for this length of time. I understand the situation she is in, but if the child is able to have visitation with you, then you should be allowed your parenting time.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You can file a contempt charge if the actions violate an existing court order. If not, you can file a court case to get court ordered visitation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
    Get an atty now and get into court for an order that your child be returned.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    What would Child Protective Services have to do with this case? This is between you and the mother. Theoretically, you could go to court and ask for the mother to be held in contempt. However, HER MOTHER IS DYING! I believe that most courts would be sympathetic to her present situation. You could go to where she is and take the child for a little while and give her a little relief. The essence of child custody is cooperation and you should understand that.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Kingloff & Travis | William K Travis
    If there is a court-ordered visitation order then the parent who is denied visitation needs to file an application to have the custodial parent held in contempt of court and have her served with the papers. What if the parent who was to pay child support stopped paying? She would be on him immediately and ask the court to lock him up. While it may seem unsympathetic and the court might think it unkind, a court order is to be obeyed. You have not stated the child's age or how far away she and the child are right now. Those things could be important because if the child is young then she did this solely for her own benefit and not that of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Brimley Family Law
    Brimley Family Law | Matthew Brimley
    You can file an Order to Show Cause and she will be required to come to court and "show cause" why she shouldn't be held in contempt of court for disregarding the Court's orders.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    Well the only thing that speaks to your legal rights is the order that was entered in your matter. With that being said people do have to use common sense, i.e. visitation can be interrupted by certain emergencies or by agreement of the parties. In your matter there is more info that would be needed, but my first question to you would be, that you allege she has been gone for 3 weeks now, so what about school for the child? And if the child is not yet old enough for school then I for one believe that it is highly inappropriate to subject a child of that age to that type of environment. But even if the child were say 5-6, or even 7 years old that is much to young to bring them into that, i.e. watching a loved one dying on a day to day bases. Now there would be nothing wrong with say if her mother passed, and it was your weekend and she told you that her mother had passed and they were going there for 2 or 3 days for the funeral etc. then you should understand, but then the right thing to do is for her to offer you makeup visitation, but the sad truth is that parents don't work together on these issues and in the end the children suffer. So again based on your limited info I would think that she is way out of bounds on this, but you'r only recourse is to file a motion with the family court to adjudge her in contempt of the prior visitation order, you could try it as an emergency motion and ask the court to assign it to a date certain say within the next 10 days to 2 weeks, your big issue is getting her served before the court date. Now if you don't have counsel and you will try doing this on you'r own all I will tell you is keep your motion fact specific, i.e. don't put a bunch of nasty or stupid things in it about her. Stay with the facts, whats the prior order say, how long she has been gone with the child, the reason she is using, the child's age, in understanding terms of her situation why you believe this is inappropriate for the child to be there for this extended period, not because it is unfair to me, i.e. you understand the sadness of this but you also do not believe that this is the best environment for such a young child to be exposed to on a daily bases.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    It is not, she has to honor you rights, but you should be understanding of her situation. That said, this cannot be used as an excuse to eliminate you. Other than the above general principles, it is not possible to form an opinion without additional facts. Call for an appointment with my offices or another attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Cantin Lawyers PC | John Morris
    In Connecticut our law is quite clear that compliance with court orders is the rule, and there is no valid reason to violate them. This is an appropriate contempt situation to enforce the Judgment. In fact, depending on the age of the child, it might be appropriate for the child to not be around a dying relative.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
    No that is not a valid reason when the child is under 6 years old then the child cannot understand why you are not seeing her and can lead to unecessary trauma and confusion.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Law Offices of Marshall R. Hoekel, LLC | Marshall Hoekel
    You can either file a contempt citation for violation of the court ordered custody arrangements or a family access motion.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If it is in violation of the current order, then it is not legal. Contact the local District Attorney Child Abduction Unit to assist with retrieving the child and perhaps consider filing an emergency motion to modify the order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Ira Silverstein | Ira Silverstein
    You should file a motion called a rule to show cause against her for violating the court order asap.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    You are certainly entitled to enforce your rights to parenting time; however, without having more information (e.g. age of the child, is the child missing school, how many days of parenting time have you missed, etc.), it's difficult to say whether the judge would consider this a special circumstance or whether the judge would strictly hold her to the court-ordered schedule.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Carey and Leisure | John Smitten
    File a motion for contempt of court asap.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    LAW OFFICE OF ANNE B. HOWARD | Anne B. Howard
    She is in contempt of the visitation order but with her mother dying its understandable. Can you go an visit where the child is. Who knows how long it will take the mother to die.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    The Law office of Karla M Mansur
    The Law office of Karla M Mansur | Karla Mansur
    You need to consult with a family law attorney immediately if you suspect she might not return to Massachusetts with your child. This is a violation of the court order and she is technically in contempt.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You need to take the custody order to an attorney to review and discuss the details of your situation and determine whether there is a violation of the order and what your legal options are.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/12/2013
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