A child custody agreement is a voluntary decision made by parents to determine legal and physical custody issues. When a parent violates that agreement, they are taking actions that are against what has been determined to be the best interests of the child.
If your child custody agreement has been violated or if you’re being accused of a violation, you should seek an experienced lawyer to help you deal with the situation. The Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help.
What Is a Child Custody Agreement?
A child custody agreement is a legal document that parents file with the court to establish custody of their child when they separate. Custody agreements are voluntary. The court therefore typically assumes that if both parents agree, the interests are the child are best served. Custody agreements deal with two types of custody:
- Legal Custody: Courts often award this to both parents jointly and gives them the right to make decisions about how a child is raised, such as education, health care, and religion.
- Physical Custody: Courts may award this to one or both parents and establishes who meets the physical needs of a child, such as food and housing. The parent who spends the most physical time with a child usually has primary physical custody.
A child custody agreement is most beneficial when it establishes specific guidelines for things like education, religion, and other key elements of a child’s life. When it does not, a parent may disagree with the decisions being made by the other parent. Disagreements can lead to both confusion and stress within the entire family.
What Constitutes a Violation of a Child Custody Agreement?
If either parent does something that has been prohibited within the child custody agreement, or if either parent fails to do something required, they may be in violation of the agreement. Some examples of violations include:
- Refusal to respect visitation rights;
- Taking the child when it is not a designated visitation time;
- Taking the child out of state or out of the country without alerting the other parent;
- Speaking poorly of the other parent or family members;
- Taking the child to religious activities outside of the agreement;
- Exposing the child to domestic violence, child abuse, or drug abuse; and
- Smoking or drinking alcohol around the child.
Most child custody agreements address these issues and establish the best interests of the child. If a parent does something that is contrary to the agreement, they can be found in violation of that agreement. In some situations, a parent may be in contempt of court orders. Or they may be found guilty of a crime, like kidnapping.
What Should I Do If My Child Custody Agreement Is Violated?
If your child’s other parent violates your child custody agreement and your child is in danger, you should call the police as soon as possible. A violation of the guidelines that are in the best interests of a child may put your child in danger.
If your child is not in immediate danger, you should contact a skilled child custody lawyer right away. Your lawyer can evaluate your child custody agreement, and then help you determine if it has been violated. The first step should be to calmly talk to the other parent and request adherence to the agreement. If the other parent refuses, you may need to subsequently seek a court order.
An experienced lawyer at The Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can guide you through the process of obtaining a court order that will require the other parent to adhere to the agreement.
What If I’m Being Accused of Violating a Child Custody Agreement?
If your child’s other parent is accusing you of violating your child custody agreement, you should take that accusation very seriously. You may be facing a contempt order or a criminal charge. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine your best options.
If your child custody agreement is no longer in the best interests of the child, and it is not beneficial to adhere to the guidelines that were established, you may need to seek a modification of the agreement. This can be done through a voluntary modification where both parents agree or through a court order. When determining whether a child custody agreement should be modified, the court will look at the best interests of the child.
Seek Legal Assistance for Violation of a Child Custody Agreement
A child custody agreement should establish guidelines that are in the child’s best interests. If that agreement is being violated, then you may need to seek intervention from the court. If your ex-spouse accuses of violating an agreement, you may face serious consequences. In either situation, you need the help of an attorney. Call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today at (559) 222-4891.