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Violations of custody orders have huge consequences

Custody orders and parenting plans aren't just tools that provide guidance to parents; they are legal documents that are enforced by the courts. This means that if a person violates these orders, he or she can face some serious legal penalties.

In California, these penalties can include reduction of parenting time or loss of custody and in some cases, even criminal charges. Violating a custody order can also have a devastating impact on children who may feel scared, angry or confused when a parent breaks the rules. With all this in mind, we urge parents to make every effort to comply with custody orders. That means avoiding certain common violations.

These can include:

  • Refusing to return a child to the other parent
  • Taking a child out of the state or country without permission
  • Interfering with the other parent's time with the child
  • Putting your child in an unsafe situation
  • Repeatedly being late or not showing up to custody exchanges
  • Making decisions about the child's health, education or religion without consulting the other parent (if you share legal custody)

If you or the other parent of your child commits one of these violations, then you can expect serious penalties to be issued.

If you are concerned that your current parenting plan or custody order is no longer relevant or reflective of your needs, your child's needs or your circumstances, then you can seek a modification from the courts. This is the legitimate and lawful way to make changes that protect your rights and your child.

Talking to an attorney before you violate a custody order can help you avoid making a costly and potentially harmful mistake. Alternatively, if you are fearful that your ex will violate an order, or if he or she already has, your attorney can help you take legal action to ensure the order is enforced.

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