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Enforcing an Existing Custody Order in Colorado

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

When a couple with children gets divorced, custody is usually the most contentious battle they face.  But even after a parenting plan has been established, sometimes issues come up which demand enforcement.  For example, if a non-custodial parent refused to return the children to the custodial parent at the proper time, or violates other terms of a Colorado custody order, they are guilty of “custodial interference.”

In Colorado, like most state, custodial interference is a criminal action.  This is true even if the non-custodial parent has some parenting rights.  Basically, it is defined by the act of keeping a minor child from his or her custodial parent intentionally, thereby interfering with that parent’s legal custody of the child.  If you are a victim of custodial interference, a Colorado Springs child custody lawyer can help you enforce the terms of your parenting plan.

Here are some examples of custodial interference. 

• Restricted telephone access: Most custody agreements allow for liberal phone access to the children during visitation.  If this is being denied, it is a form of custodial interference.

• Parental kidnapping:  This is when one parent willfully absconds with the child(ren), as a way to prevent them from having a relationship with the other parent, often going out of the state or the country.

• Delayed return of the children: When a non-custodial parent willfully and/or repeatedly fails to return the children to the custodial parent in a timely manner, whether hours or days, it is considered custodial interference.

While it can be difficult to enforce a parenting plan on your own, a Colorado Spring child custody lawyer can file a contempt of court petition on your behalf.  If it is determined that the offending parent willfully violated your agreement for custody, a judge may decide to fine them or order supervised parenting time.  Repeated or serious offenses may also result in prison time. 

Sometimes, the best course of action may be mediation or family therapy, but if you continue to experience problems with custodial interference, it is recommended that your attorney continue to file complaints for contempt of court.  This will allow you to establish an ongoing pattern of interference, which will strengthen your case if you attempt to change the custody order in the future. 

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