Your Legal Rights When the Other Parent Violates a Custody Order

Enforcing a Child Custody Order

One of the most contentious aspects of any New Jersey divorce case are issues involving children. The same holds true for disputes that erupt after a divorce decree has been issued. When it comes to issues involving children, enforcing a child custody order is a widespread problem among divorcing or divorced parents. If you find yourself dealing with a situation in which the other parent is not complying with a custody order, you need to understand your vital legal rights and what to do to protect them.

Common Examples of Child Custody-Related Violations

There are many ways in which the need to enforce child custody can arise. Some of the most common types of child custody violations include:

  • Interference with parenting time
  • Making major decisions regarding the child without the input/consent of the other parent
  • Failure to return a child from parenting time
  • Failure to make a child available for parenting time


Motion to Enforce Custody Order

The first step in enforcing a parent’s custodial rights is the preparation and filing of a motion to enforce the parties’ settlement agreement and/or a court order.   While the court does have forms available online to assist parties who wish to represent themselves,  keep in mind that child custody issues are some of the most complicated and contentious possible. If you are in need of judicial intervention to address custody violations, retaining the services of a skilled, experienced Bergen County divorce attorney can be beneficial.

If violations of a custody arrangement happened recently, the motion would request that the court enforce the existing order and sanction the offending parent. Sanctions can include requiring that parent to pay your attorney fees.

If these violations are persistent or more serious, the time may be right to request that the court change the custodial arrangement. In order for your request to change child custody to be honored, you will need to demonstrate that the best interests of the child warrant this type of alteration.

New Jersey Child Custody Standard

If an issue arises regarding the violation of a custody order, the situation may degrade to the point that a court will consider changing the custodial arrangement. Regardless of whether this happens during divorce proceedings or after the divorce case itself has ended, a court is required to utilize a well-established judicial standard when considering the custody arrangement.

The standard used in New Jersey to determine the appropriate custodial arrangement focuses on what is in the best interests of a child. This standard allows the court to approach each parent’s case without bias. The standard is also gender neutral.

In considering a possible change of custody, the court is called upon to look at the unique facts of a particular case. Factors considered by the court can include a consideration of if and how a parent is failing to comply with an existing court order regarding custody. On a related note, the court will consider which parent seems more apt to encourage the other to develop a meaningful relationship with the child or children.

When asked to enforce an existing custody arrangement a court may also consider factors that include:

  • Physical, mental, and emotional health of each party
  • Residential situation of both parties
  • How a parent has breached an existing court order or custody agreement

Retain a Skilled, Experienced, Tenacious Bergen County Divorce Attorney

The first step in making certain your legal interests are fully protected is to schedule an initial consultation with the Law Offices of Kelly Berton Rocco by calling 201-343-0078 or emailing us at

We can schedule an appointment at a time that is convenient for you. There is no charge for an initial consultation with a member of our legal team.

The legal team at our firm have an extensive background in representing clients in custody and parenting time matters. During an initial consultation with a child custody lawyer, we’ll provide an evaluation of your case and answer all of your questions. Our offices are located conveniently in Hackensack.

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