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Enforcing Child Custody Agreements in New Jersey

Divorces are usually very complex and difficult experiences for two spouses. These situations can become even more emotionally exhausting when they involve children. When parents go through a divorce, they are required to determine arrangements for the future of their children. This includes establishing a child custody agreement. A custody arrangement determines a child’s custodial and non-custodial parent. Furthermore, this settles where a child lives and the amount of influence a parent can have in their child’s life. 

The New Jersey court system approves custody decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Most times, they believe that it is in their best interest to have both parents involved in their life. While this may not mean their time is split evenly with both parents, it means a non-custodial parent would still have visitation rights. When these arrangements are approved by the court, they are considered the law. Therefore, if a parent does not abide by it, the arrangements can be enforced by the court.

How Do I Know My Agreement is Being Violated?

There are several different situations that may constitute a violation of a custody agreement. This can include the following:

  • Refusal to adhere to the visitation schedule
  • Taking the children without notice
  • Disrupting the relationship with your children
  • Making legal decisions without authority
  • Harming the child through habits or choices

What Do I Do if My Agreement Was Violated?

If a parent’s former spouse is violating their custody agreement, there are steps that can be taken to enforce the terms of the agreement. The following steps are recommended to a parent:

  • Record incidents of child custody violations (when, where, what was said, etc.)
  • Voice your concerns to your co-parent to reach an amicable solution without legal intervention
  • Speak with an experienced child custody and visitation attorney
  • Modify the custody agreement if it no longer suits the co-parent’s schedule or obligations
  • File a motion for contempt if you are unable to resolve the violations
  • Contact the police in extreme cases of violations

Enforcing Support Arrangements

When dealing with custody violations, there are many questions as to how they can be enforced or the co-parent may be penalized for their actions. There are two main ways the New Jersey Rules of Court may remedy the situation: Rule 1:10-3 is the most common rule when a parent is seeking enforcement. Generally, it is referred to as a “motion to enforce litigant’s rights.” The enforcement may be seen in the form of a fine or possibly even incarceration. 

Alternatively, Rule 5:3-7 provides “Additional Remedies” in the event of a custody violation. This can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Compensatory time with the children
  • Economic sanctions
  • Modifying transportation arrangements
  • Pick-up and return of the children in public spaces
  • Counseling for children or parents
  • Temporary or permanent modifications to the arrangement
  • Participation by the violating parent in an approved community service program
  • Incarceration
  • Issuance of a warrant if violations continue

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.