What Happens If a Parent Doesn't Follow a Custody Order in Michigan?

Parents sitting with their child who is holding a teddy bear.

If a parent doesn’t follow a custody order in Michigan, they may face serious legal consequences including criminal charges, contempt of court, fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Courts in Michigan are steadfast in enforcing custody orders to uphold the child’s best interests and preserve the law’s integrity. When a parent fails to adhere to a custody order, it not only undermines the stability of the child’s living arrangements but also disregards the legal framework established to protect the child’s welfare. 

Non-compliance with custody orders can disrupt the child’s routine, cause emotional distress, and strain relationships between the child and both parents. Consequently, parents must understand their obligations under custody orders and the potential ramifications of failing to comply. By prioritizing the child’s well-being and respecting court orders, parents can maintain a harmonious co-parenting relationship and ensure the stability and happiness of their child’s upbringing.

For legal guidance and representation in navigating custody issues in Michigan, contact WSM at 380-212-3731. Our experienced family law attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and advocating for the well-being of you and your child. Don’t face custody disputes alone—let us provide you with the support and representation you need to achieve a favorable outcome. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding the Seriousness of Ignoring a Custody Order

Custody orders in Michigan, whether temporary or final, are legally binding documents, carrying the full weight of the law. They determine:

  • How shared responsibilities are divided between parents
  • Legal custody
  • Parenting time
  • Child support

Therefore, any breach of these orders is a grave legal issue.

The Legal Weight of a Custody Order

A custody order extends beyond a simple agreement. It represents a legal commitment endorsed by a judge, which outlines the care and custody provisions for children of separated or divorced parents. The Friend of the Court (FOC) in Michigan is tasked with ensuring compliance with these orders.

Consequences for the Non-Compliant Parent

Disobeying a custody order isn’t a consequence-free act of defiance. The repercussions can be grave, including:

  • Criminal charges
  • Contempt of court
  • Fines
  • License suspension
  • Jail time

The court has a range of remedies at its disposal to enforce custody orders.

Not to mention, parents denied court-ordered time with their children are entitled to make-up parenting time, and the non-compliant parent may be liable for attorney’s fees and court costs.

Protecting the Children’s Best Interests

Child custody conflicts are not about triumph or defeat, but rather about prioritizing the child’s welfare, a fundamental principle of family law. Any resolution to custody disputes must prioritize:

  • The child’s needs
  • The child’s age
  • Maintaining positive relationships with both parents.

This means avoiding negative discussions about the other parent and keeping children out of adult conflicts to foster better co-parenting communication, ultimately promoting a continuing parent-child relationship.

Immediate Steps When a Custody Order Is Disregarded

In case you come across a violation of a custody order, it’s vital to take swift action. This includes documenting the violation, obtaining legal aid, submitting a motion for enforcement, and calling a family law attorney at WSM.

Documenting the Violation

Should a custody order violation occur, maintaining a comprehensive record is of utmost importance. Not just dates and times, but specifics of missed visits, tardiness, and other relevant details should be logged meticulously. Collect tangible proof such as:

  • Photographs
  • Videos
  • Text messages
  • Emails
  • Witness testimonies

This evidence will be invaluable should you need to prove contempt of a court order.

Seeking Legal Assistance

The legal intricacies of custody order violations can be overwhelming. This is when legal guidance becomes indispensable. From presenting evidence at court hearings to drafting legal paperwork, a Michigan family lawyer from WSM can guide you through the process.

It’s crucial, though, to comply strictly with the terms of both the custody order and any support order, to prevent situations where a parent violates the agreement and the other parent has grounds for action against them.

Filing a Motion for Enforcement

To kickstart enforcement proceedings, submission of a motion to the court that issued the original custody order is required. This motion should detail the specific clauses of the custody order that have been violated and state what specific relief or actions are being requested from the court.

Adjusting Custody Arrangements: When and How

At times, a breach of a custody order might suggest that the existing arrangement isn’t viable or beneficial for the child anymore. In such situations, adjusting the custody arrangements may become necessary.

Change in Circumstances

Life is dynamic. Significant life transitions that impact the child’s well-being or the parents’ ability to comply with the existing custody schedule might necessitate adjustments to the custody agreement.

Requesting Court Review

A motion needs to be filed with the court to request a modification of custody. The court then reassesses the custody arrangement, evaluating the best interest factors outlined in the Michigan Child Custody Act.

Ensuring Fair Reassessment

Michigan law ensures fairness in custody arrangements, requiring make-up parenting time when a parent is denied their ordered time with the children. This make-up time should occur within a year to maintain the relationship between the parent and child.

Strategies for Resolving Parental Disputes Over Custody

Effective communication plays a pivotal role in resolving custody disputes. Coupled with the use of parenting time custody services and the advice of WSM, an amicable resolution can be found.

Encouraging Communication Between Parents

Systematic visitation plans and understanding communication can aid in resolving disputes harmoniously. Understanding each other’s perspectives can be crucial in fostering effective communication and settling disputes.

Utilizing Parenting Time Custody Services

Utilizing parenting time custody services can significantly reduce conflicts, especially in joint custody situations. A shared calendar with notifications, for instance, can facilitate understanding and compliance with court orders, making it easier to create and maintain a specific parenting time schedule.

WSM’s Approach to Dispute Resolution

At WSM, we’re committed to advocating for women’s parental rights, working towards custody arrangements that protect the mother’s relationship with the child while ensuring the child’s interests. Our process includes case evaluation, negotiation, and if necessary, court representation, leaning on our experience in complex child custody legalities and high-conflict cases.

The Role of Family Court in Upholding Custody Orders

The family court holds significant responsibility for enforcing custody orders. From evaluating custody orders to enforcing them, the court’s authority is instrumental in ensuring adherence.

Family Court’s Authority

The family court can enforce custody orders through show cause hearings, leading to contempt findings, and other appropriate actions during a court hearing.

Friend of the Court’s Involvement

The Friend of the Court (FOC) is another key player in enforcing custody orders in Michigan. The FOC can:

  • Initiate enforcement proceedings
  • Offer court forms
  • Provide access to case managers
  • Recommend changes to court orders

Judges’ Decisions on Custody Violations

Judges in Michigan family courts have the discretion to make decisions in child custody cases based on the best interests of the children involved. They can hold a parent in contempt of court for violating a custody order, with potential penalties including fines, jail time, or other sanctions.

Moving Forward: What Comes After a Custody Violation?

Advancing after a custody violation entails seeking advice and backing from seasoned legal professionals such as WSM, a family law attorney, with family well-being as the priority.

Rebuilding Trust and Cooperation

Following a breach of a custody order, parents must facilitate transparent communication to address the root causes of the disobedience. Restoring trust and cooperation in the co-parenting relationship can be supported by establishing clear and consistent routines, which also provide children with a sense of stability.

Long-Term Implications for Parenting Roles

Breach of primary physical custody can result in enduring changes to custody arrangements and parenting schedules if trust cannot be reinstated between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent. This can alter long-term parenting roles, potentially leading to sole custody.

Continuous Support from WSM

At WSM, we’re here to help you navigate through the aftermath of a custody violation. Our firm is dedicated to helping women fight for their rights and offering comprehensive assistance

Contact WSM for Trusted Support with Custody Order Enforcement

Custody violations are serious legal matters that warrant immediate action and potential legal intervention. From documenting the violation to seeking legal assistance and filing a motion for enforcement, it’s crucial to take decisive steps to protect the child.

At WSM, we’re committed to guiding you through this challenging process. Whether it’s adjusting custody arrangements, rebuilding trust and cooperation, or handling a custody violation, our team is here to provide the support you need. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and with the right help, you can ensure your child’s best interests are upheld, call us today at 380-212-3731 for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

The legality of tracking during parenting time depends on various factors such as the type of tracking and the laws in your jurisdiction. In many cases, covert tracking without consent may violate privacy laws or court orders, potentially leading to legal consequences. It’s essential to consult with a legal professional, such as WSM, familiar with your local laws to determine your rights and options in such situations.

When a parent keeps a child from the other parent intentionally displaying unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent, it is called parental alienation. This damages the child’s relationship with the other parent.

A mother can refuse access to the father only if she can prove that the father is unfit for visitation due to specific reasons such as drug or alcohol abuse, child abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. Therefore, it’s important to consider the well-being of the child in determining access.

Violating a custody order in Michigan can result in serious legal consequences, potentially leading to criminal charges, contempt of court, fines, or jail time.