The Basics of Enforcing New Jersey Family Law Orders

The Basics of Enforcing New Jersey Family Law OrdersEnforce Your Rights

New Jersey family law orders are legally enforceable, meaning the offending parent can be taken to court for violations. Some parents do not take family law orders seriously. In reality, you should take every court order seriously to avoid potential sanctions. If you are a parent who needs to enforce a family law order, here are the basics of stepping up and defending your rights.


Try to Negotiate


First, consider whether you can remedy the situation without involving the court. Some parents make the mistake of taking their ex to court over minor violations of parenting time schedules, such as being 15 minutes late for a pickup. The courts don’t want to be bothered intervening in such trivial disputes. Nor is it cost-effective for either parent. If the other parent is violating your custody or parenting time orders, determine whether you can reach a resolution on your own.


Sometimes it’s easier and quicker to simply work with the other parent on this. For example, if the other parent was late several days in a row to drop off your child, you could propose “makeup” time or arrange a different procedure for exchanges to minimize delays in the future. It is perfectly acceptable to negotiate directly with your spouse on minor violations rather than involve the court.


Seek Neutral Help


If you aren’t able to or are uncomfortable with negotiating directly with the other parent, consider child custody mediation. Mediation is a cost-effective way for parents to overcome minor disputes without involving the court. The mediator is there to facilitate respectful and productive negotiations, not to make decisions for you or punish the offending parent.


Asking the Court to Step In


Know when court enforcement is needed. For example, if the violations are egregious or put your child at risk in any way, consider taking the matter to court. Your child’s safety and well-being are paramount to the other parent’s scheduling conflicts or indiscretions. The court is there to enforce orders that protect the rights and well-being of children and wronged parents. It is not, however, there to settle minor conflicts or micromanage each parent’s life. Typically, the wronged parent can file a Motion to Enforce Litigants’ Rights. This asks the court to enforce a specific family law order or orders. The court has a wide range of methods to enforce family law orders, including:


  • Award the wronged parent “makeup” parenting time
  • Impose monetary sanctions on the offending parent
  • Revoke the offending parent’s driving privileges
  • Modify existing orders
  • Ordering the offending parent perform community service, undergo drug and alcohol treatment, or counseling
  • Issuing a warrant for the offending parent’s arrest, and
  • Incarcerating the offending parent


Finding a Resolution


The specific remedy the court will utilize may depend on the nature of the violation and the specific order being enforced. If you aren’t sure whether it is prudent to seek enforcement through the court, consult with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney.


Do you need help enforcing a New Jersey family law order? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can advise you of your options, protect your rights, and help you make the best decision for your child. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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