New Jersey courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of children. Unless there are circumstances that would disqualify a parent from being in their child’s life — for example, domestic violence, abuse or criminal behavior — courts believe that it is important for both parents to be accessible to their children.
However, in real life, sometimes parents go against custody orders by not letting the other parent have access to their children. When that happens, the aggrieved parent can seek remedies through the courts. If the court finds that one parent is being deliberately denied parenting time with their child, there are several options for enforcement of the parenting plan:
Custody modification. You could ask the court to modify the parenting plan to make it easier for the other parent to comply, or to provide for specific remedies for non-compliance.
Custody change. Petitioning the court for a change in custody may be an option, especially if your ex’s behavior is especially egregious. Parental alienation is real and has even been labeled a form of child abuse since it weakens the bond a child has with one parent and hinders a child’s emotional development.
Enforce existing order. Another option is asking the court to enforce the existing order and to allow for extra parenting time to make up for the time missed.
Sanctions. You can ask the court to find your ex in contempt of court for violating the custody order. You can also ask that your ex be made to pay the attorneys fees and court costs associated with your effort to enforce the original custody order. Under New Jersey law, you also have the right to file a criminal complaint for interference.
If you decide to pursue a custody action, be sure to keep a parenting time calendar and note any incidents where the other parent failed to follow the plan. Be sure you record the details in case you need them in court. Keeping tabs on your ex’s social media posts can also provide you with dated evidence of when he or she was not following your parenting plan agreement.
Protecting your interests and achieving results that support your needs is what you can expect from Murphy & Cistaro. Contact us today for your free consultation.