Consequences for Violating a Visitation Order

Parents work hard to make sure that their children have a secure and stable home environment where they can flourish.  When the parents are separated or divorced, maintaining the stability can become more challenging, especially if you and the other parent do not get along.  Getting a custody order can be a good way to make sure that each parent is clear on their respective rights and responsibilities, as well as the exact visitation schedule.  Unfortunately, in some cases, one parent will violate the visitation order.  There are potentially severe consequences for a parent who does this.

New Jersey rule 5:3-7(a) sets out potential consequences that a court may impose on a parent who willfully violates a custody or visitation order.  The court could order make up time for the non-violating parent for any visitation time he or she missed because the other parent failed to comply with the ordered schedule.  The possibilities also include economic sanctions for the violating parent, counseling at the expense of the violating parent, ordering the violating parent to participate in community service, or even incarceration in severe cases.  The court can also modify the existing transportation arrangement in the order.  For example, if one parent is consistently late in dropping off the children at the end of visitation, the court can state that the violating parent must bring the children all the way to the other parent’s house, instead of transferring the children halfway between the parties’ respective residences.  The court can also make a temporary or permanent modification of the current order, including changing custody and drastically reducing the parenting time of the violating parent.

In addition to these remedies, New Jersey statute 2C:13-4(a) provides that it is a crime if one parent takes or detains the child for the purpose of concealing the child from the other parent and they also have the intention to deprive the other parent of custody or visitation.  The non-violating parent can report the matter to the police.

Parties considering pursing relief against the other parent for violating an order should be aware that the court typically only sanctions parents who are repeat offenders.  In other words, one or two times showing up late for exchanging the children is not likely to result in harsh measures from the court.

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We understand that your children are the most important part of your life. We have experience helping our clients understand their rights and responsibilities with regard to custody and visitation.  Call us today to discuss your goals and your children.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.  Download our free resource guide today.

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