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What should I do if a parent isn't following a custody order?

As is the case with just about any court order or judgment, a custody and parenting time order is only good to the extent that parents are willing to follow it.

It can be very frustrating for a Statesville-area parent to feel that he or she is continually having to work around the fact that the other parent simply will not follow the court's orders.

Is it a crime?

In extreme cases, a parent's refusal to follow a custody order, such as when a parent outright refuses to let the other parent have or see the child, can be a criminal act. In this sort of situation, a parent may choose to deal with the issue by contacting law enforcement authorities.

As a word of caution, though, a parent will need a court order for visitation in order to convince a prosecutor to pursue criminal charges, and the other parent will generally had to have taken the child outside of North Carolina.

Working things out through negotiation or the courts

In the vast majority of custody disputes, however, a parent's remedy is simply to return to court and ask either that the other parent be held in contempt for violating the court's orders or that the court make necessary adjustments to the custody order in order to make it work better. A court does have considerable discretion when it comes to deciding how to deal with a parent who simply won't follow orders regarding custody and visitation.

Of course, it is ideal when parents can work out their issues outside of the courtroom. However, when working out a child custody dispute is simply not possible, a parent still has legal options but may wish to have the help of an experienced family law attorney in pursuing these.

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