Child custody

Can Police Enforce a Child Custody Order?

If your ex-spouse has violated the terms of your child custody order, you might be wondering whether or not you should call the police. Law enforcement does have the legal right to enforce a child custody order; however, custody disputes are usually considered a civil matter and the police might refuse to get involved.

Child custody issues can become very complicated, and there is no one correct answer to all situations. An experienced Virginia family law attorney can help you understand your options for enforcing a child custody order. Don’t wait for another violation. Call the law office of Mike Deering at (757) 383-6848 to schedule your consultation today.

What is a Child Custody Order?

A child custody order specifies the rights and responsibilities of each parent in a divorce case. A child custody order consists of two types of custody:

  • Legal custody, which is the right to make decisions about the child’s welfare, including education, medical care, and religion.
  • Physical custody, which is the right and responsibility to house, provide for, and care for the child.

The child’s best interests are the guiding factor in child custody decisions, and joint or sole custody is granted by the courts accordingly.

How are Custody Orders Enforced?

Child custody orders are legally binding and there are two ways they can be enforced:

  • Involve the police – Calling the police when your ex-spouse violates the terms of your child custody order is usually a good idea, particularly if you have any concern about your child’s safety. Even if your child is not in danger, filing a report with the police is a valuable step in documenting evidence of violations of the custody order that can be used later in family court.
  • File a motion with the court – By filing a motion with the court, you are informing the court that your ex-spouse has violated the terms of your child custody order. If they are found to be in contempt of the court for failing to comply with the custody order, the court will likely provide consequences which may include modifications to the custody order, a make-up schedule for lost parenting time, and reimbursement of legal fees.

Do I Need a Lawyer or Law Enforcement to Assist Me?

If your ex-spouse violates your child custody orders, the best first step is to talk to them about it. A direct conversation with them may be all it takes to work out an agreement, and this sets the stage for direct and honest conversations if issues arise in the future. If you are unable to contact your ex-spouse, or if they are not willing to discuss the matter, contacting law enforcement at the time when a violation occurs may be a good idea. Although the police will usually only get involved if the situation involves a possible criminal offense, such as child abuse or kidnapping, filing a police report could serve as evidence of the violation. You then need a skilled Virginia divorce lawyer who understands your situation and can file a motion with the court to get your child custody orders enforced.

How Deering Hedrick Can Help You

Known as a fierce litigator and negotiator, Mike Deering is ready to aggressively advocate for you and your rights. Having been through his own personal experience with family law issues, Mike understands the emotions, worry, and stress that child custody matters bring to a divorce. His priority is to understand your unique situation so that he can tailor his representation to ensure your needs and goals are met. Find out how Deering Hedrick can help you. Call him today at (757) 383-6848 to schedule your consultation.

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