Enforcing Child Custody Agreements in New Jersey

Going through a divorce is a difficult and complex process. This is even more so when children are involved in the process. When parents go through a divorce, they are required to determine future arrangements for their children’s new life. This includes settling a custody agreement, establishing where the children live and how much time they spend with their parents.

When a custody decision is made between parents, it must be approved by the court. This ensures that the decision that is reached is in the best interest of the child in question. Once it is approved, the arrangement is considered a court order. This means that it is the law and must be followed, otherwise, it can be enforced by the court. While many parents follow the guidelines laid out in their agreement, some choose to violate these terms. 

How Do I Know My Agreement is Being Violated?

If a parent does not follow the agreement they made with their former spouse and the court, they are considered to be in violation of their custody agreement. There are many different ways an agreement can be violated, including the following circumstances:

  • Refusal to adhere to the visitation schedule
  • Taking the children without notice
  • Disrupting a parent’s relationship with their children
  • Making legal decisions for the child without the authority to do so
  • Harming the children through their habits or choices

What Can I Do If My Agreement is Violated?

Once a custody agreement is finalized, it is the law. If a parent chooses to violate their agreement, they are also violating the law. When this happens, it can be very stressful, the other parent often does not know how to handle the situation. It is important to know that, during these times, there are steps that can be taken. This can include the following:

  • Recording incidents of custody violations (when, where, what was said, etc.)
  • Voicing concerns to the co-parent to reach an amicable solution without court intervention
  • Contact an experienced child custody and visitation attorney 
  • Modify the custody agreement if it no longer works for both parents’ schedules
  • File a motion for contempt if a resolution is not found
  • Contact the police in the event of an extreme violation

Enforcing Custody Arrangements

In the state of New Jersey, there are two main ways that a custody agreement can be enforced by the court. The most common enforcement is a motion to “enforce litigant’s rights.” This can result in a fine or possible incarceration. Another method of enforcement is known as “Additional Remedies.” This can include the following:

  • Compensatory time with the children
  • Economic sanctions
  • Modifying transportation arrangements
  • Pick-up and return of the children in public spaces
  • Counseling for children or parents
  • Temporary or permanent modifications to the arrangement
  • Participation by the violating parent in an approved community service program
  • Incarceration
  • Issuance of a warrant if the violations continue

Contact our Firm

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.