Unlike property division, which is settled once your divorce decree is entered, child custody issues can linger all the way up until the time that your children become adults. Changes in circumstances may warrant child custody modification, but what do you do if your child’s other parent simply isn’t abiding by a custody order that’s already in place?
What can a civil contempt order do?
Willfully disobeying a court order is contempt. So if your child’s other parent isn’t abiding by a court order with regard to your custody arrangement, then you might be able to have him or her held in contempt. If you succeed in having your child’s other parent held in contempt, then the court may do a number of things. It might do any of the following:
- modify custody
- order makeup parenting time
- issue a fine
- send the parent to jail
- suspend a driver’s or professional license
- force the other parent to participate in any number of programs to address issues related to parenting, substance abuse, employment, or mental health
But how do you go about seeking a contempt order? In Michigan, a motion for rule to show cause has to be filed, which is simply asking the court to hold a hearing where the other parent has to show why they shouldn’t be held in contempt. The Friend of the Court appointed by the court usually files this motion, but you can certainly file one on your own. You’ll just want to make sure that you have the evidence you need to support your motion and your requested remedy.
Can you benefit from having an advocate on your side?
There’s a lot at stake in child custody disputes, which is why you should do everything you can to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected. That’s not always as easy as it sounds, though, especially when you’re going up against a confrontational parent or confusing legalities. Fortunately, you don’t have to face these matters alone. Qualified family law professionals like those on our team stand ready to aggressively advocate on your behalf so that you can maximize your chances of achieving the outcome you and your child deserve.