Following a divorce, deciding how to share parenting time with a former spouse is an issue in which emotions continue to run high and problems may arise. While courts will enter custody orders that are in the best interests of the children involved, the contentious nature of this issue can occasionally lead to one parent violating the terms of the agreement.
When a spouse willfully disobeys an order of the court, the other parent can file a petition for contempt of a custody order. It is important to note that this is not a modification of the existing custody order, although possible sanctions for contempt can include a transfer of custody or make-up visitation or parenting time.
West Chester Contempt Petition Lawyer
If your former spouse has failed to follow the directions or a custody order or you are being accused of custody contempt, you should immediately contact an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney. Ciccarelli Law Offices assists clients with custody issues in Chester County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.
Our firm investigates these cases and gathers the evidence needed to help people with these charges. You can have us review your case by calling (877) 529-2422 to schedule a free consultation.
Chester County Contempt Petition Information Center
- Why do people file these types of petitions?
- What are the possible sanctions if a person is found in contempt?
- Are there any defenses against contempt allegations?
A few of the most common violations of custody orders that can result in petitions for contempt include:
- Denying Visitation for Lack of Child Support Payment — Child support and child custody are two separate issues, and a violation of one does not justify a violation of the other. Although failure to pay child support can itself be grounds for contempt, but preventing visitation because of non-payment can lead to the withholding parent being found in contempt.
- Interfering with Communication — An attempt to block any sort of communication between a child and the other parent may be contempt. This violation does not need to involve complete cutting off of communication, but may stem from blocking phone calls, obstructing email communication, or impeding text messages.
- Preventing Visitation — This occurs when one parent consistently makes the child unavailable for the other parent’s visitation time. Scheduling appointments or extracurricular activities are some of the most common violations, but the interference needs to be an ongoing problem in order to be considered contempt. A single, isolated incident is not sufficient evidence of this type of violation.
- Taking the Child without Alerting the Other Parent — If one parent (or a family member) takes a child without notifying the other parent, this can be a very serious charge that can result in kidnapping charges as well as a contempt violation.
A person who is found in contempt of a custody order can face some very significant sanctions that include, but are not limited to:
- Make-up time for parenting or visitation
- Mandatory attendance at parenting classes
- Order to pay costs, such as attorney’s fees or transportation costs
- Transfer of custody to noncustodial parent
If you have been served a motion for contempt of a custody order, you may be able to utilize one of the following defenses:
- Court order expired
- Court order invalid because court had no authority to act
- Court order invalid because you were not served with legal notice in original case
- Court order was unclear
- Failure to obey the order through no fault of your own
- Lack of evidence
- Proof of child support payment
- You did not violate the order
Find A Contempt Petition Lawyer in West Chester
Contempt charges for child custody violations are extremely serious, and you will want the help of a capable Pennsylvania family law attorney so you can give yourself the best chance of obtaining the most favorable outcome to your case. Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients in such Chester County communities as including Coatesville, West Goshen, Phoenixville, Easttown, West Chester, Kennett Square, West Caln, and Downingtown.
Our firm will fight to protect your parental rights. Call (877) 529-2422 right now to set up a free, no-obligation consultation that will let us see how we can help.