Contempt Motion vs Motion to Enforce

I want to talk to you a little bit about your remedies when the other parent most likely in a custody case, child custody case is not complying with the parenting orders from the court. You really have a couple different remedies that you can pursue in court, and that would be in the filing of a verified motion for contempt, or a motion to enforce parenting orders.

A contempt proceeding is governed by a different set of laws than a motion to enforce parenting orders. In a contempt action, the party who’s filed the contempt is held to a higher standard of a proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In a contempt action, the court can issue a punishment to the offending parent or the parent who’s in violation by saying, “I’m gonna order you to, uh, remedy the situation. I’m gonna order you, uh, to fix the problem”, or the court can even send that parent to jail which is called punitive contempt.

There is also another avenue and that is a motion to enforce parenting orders. In that, the court has many more remedies and can issue a relief to the party that’s been the subject of a violation of a custody order. The example that comes to mind is when a parent has orders from the court to pick up the children for Christmas holiday, the orders may say that that parent can pick up the children at noon on Christmas Day, and that parent comes to the door and finds that the other parent and the children are not home.

There’ll be no Christmas for that parent that year because the other parent has either intentionally, or willfully or neglectfully taken off with the children depriving the other parent and the children have parenting time with the other parent. In that situation, if a motion is filed and that parent has indeed violated a parenting order, one of the remedies is for the court to issue attorney’s fees for the parent that’s violated the court order. This is another reason why it’s always important to consult with an attorney that is aware of the options and what the law says so that you can enforce your parenting rights at all times.

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