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When the Non-Custodial Parent Takes Your Child

Both parents are required by law to adhere to the strict terms set in child custody and visitation arrangements. Any changes to those arrangements must be made by written agreement or through a Court Order. If one parent is uncooperative with those terms, it can add some unnecessary tension to the relationship between the parents and their children. If that uncooperative parent takes the child outside of their allotted visitation time and without permission to do so, this is could lead to emergency court intervention which may result in a change of custody and visitation. In limited circumstances, this can lead to criminal charges.

Some issues to consider:

  • Enforcement of custody orders: If a non-custodial parent refuses to comply with the terms of existing custody orders, you can seek an Order to enforce, or modifications to the order. If a parent is detaining the child, the Court may issue a writ of habeas corpus which will direct a party to bring the child to the Court house for an immediate ruling.
  • Threat of harm: If you have any reason to believe your child faces potential physical harm in the possession of the other parent, especially during an abduction circumstance, it is crucial to get law enforcement involved immediately. But any time parental abduction occurs, getting police involved is an appropriate response.
  • Protective orders: If the other parent has a history of any form of abuse to the child or to you, you can seek emergency protective orders in court otherwise known as an Order of Protection until more permanent solutions can be arranged. Often times, Child Protective Services gets involved and depending on the allegations, an abuse or neglect proceeding may occur for which the children are removed from the parents or a parent and placed in the care of the other parent or foster parents.
  • Parental rights: In certain extreme circumstances, the actions of the other parent may allow for you to seek a termination of their parental rights altogether. However, these circumstances are very rare.

For more information about what to do if the other parent is non-cooperative in your custody and visitation orders, contact an experienced family lawyer at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia LLP.