Tampa Custody Attorney

Enforcement of Custody Orders: Ensuring Compliance and Protecting Parental Rights

When a court issues a custody order, it is a legally binding document intended to protect the best interests of the child and ensure a fair and stable arrangement for both parents. However, there are times when one parent might violate the terms of this order, leading to significant stress and disruption. In such cases, enforcement of custody orders becomes crucial. This blog post will discuss the legal remedies available for violations of custody orders and explore enforcement mechanisms such as contempt of court. If you find yourself facing these challenges, a Tampa custody lawyer can provide the necessary guidance and representation to protect your rights.

Understanding Custody Orders

A custody order is a formal ruling by a court that outlines the custody arrangement for a child, including physical and legal custody, visitation schedules, and other relevant provisions. This order is designed to provide clarity and structure, ensuring that both parents understand their responsibilities and rights. However, when one parent fails to adhere to the terms of the custody order, it can create significant problems for both the child and the other parent.

Common Violations of Custody Orders

Violations of custody orders can take many forms. Some common examples include:

Failure to Return the Child: One parent may not return the child to the other parent at the designated time.

Unilateral Schedule Changes: A parent might make changes to the visitation schedule without the other parent’s consent or court approval.

Denial of Visitation: One parent may refuse to allow the other parent to exercise their visitation rights.

Interference with Communication: Preventing the child from communicating with the other parent during their designated times.

Relocation without Permission: Moving the child to a different location without the court’s consent or proper notification to the other parent.

When these or other violations occur, legal remedies are available to enforce the custody order and ensure compliance.

Legal Remedies for Violations of Custody Orders

Several legal remedies can be pursued when a custody order is violated. These remedies aim to enforce compliance and protect the best interests of the child. A Tampa custody lawyer can help you understand and utilize these options effectively.

1. Contempt of Court

Contempt of court is one of the most powerful enforcement mechanisms available in custody cases. When a parent willfully disobeys a court order, they can be held in contempt. Contempt proceedings can result in various penalties, including fines, compensatory visitation time, and even jail time. To initiate a contempt action, the aggrieved parent must file a motion with the court, detailing the specific violations and providing evidence of non-compliance.

2. Modification of Custody Orders

In cases where repeated violations occur, a court may consider modifying the existing custody order. The court can alter the terms to better protect the child’s best interests and ensure compliance. For example, the court may grant primary custody to the non-violating parent if the other parent consistently fails to adhere to the visitation schedule. A Tampa custody lawyer can help you file a petition to modify the custody order and present a compelling case to the court.

3. Enforcement of Visitation Rights

When a parent denies the other parent their visitation rights, legal action can be taken to enforce these rights. The court can issue orders to make up for missed visitation time and impose penalties on the non-compliant parent. Additionally, the court may order supervised visitation if there are concerns about the violating parent’s ability to adhere to the schedule.

4. Police Intervention

In some situations, immediate enforcement may be necessary, and involving law enforcement can be an option. If a parent refuses to return the child as required by the custody order, the other parent can contact the police to help enforce the order. However, this should be a last resort, as involving law enforcement can be traumatic for the child.

5. Filing for Civil Penalties

Courts can impose civil penalties on a parent who violates a custody order. These penalties can include fines and the payment of the other parent’s attorney fees and court costs. Civil penalties serve as a deterrent to future violations and compensate the aggrieved parent for their legal expenses.

Contempt of Court and Its Implications

Contempt of court is a serious legal matter that underscores the importance of complying with court orders. When a parent is found in contempt, the court has several options to ensure compliance and penalize the offending parent:

Fines: The court may impose monetary fines to penalize the violating parent and deter future violations.

Make Up Visitation: The court can order additional visitation time for the non-violating parent to compensate for the time lost due to the other parent’s actions.

Imprisonment: In extreme cases, the court may order jail time for a parent who willfully disobeys the custody order.

Attorney Fees: The violating parent may be ordered to pay the attorney fees and court costs incurred by the other parent in bringing the contempt action.

A Tampa custody lawyer can assist in filing a motion for contempt, presenting evidence, and advocating for appropriate penalties to ensure compliance with the custody order.

Working with a Tampa Custody Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of custody order enforcement requires experienced legal guidance. A Tampa custody lawyer can provide the expertise and support needed to address violations effectively. Here’s how a custody lawyer can help:

Legal Advice: A custody lawyer can explain your rights and options, helping you understand the best course of action based on the specifics of your case.

Filing Motions: Your lawyer can prepare and file the necessary legal documents to initiate enforcement actions, such as motions for contempt or modifications.

Evidence Gathering: A custody lawyer can help gather and present evidence to support your claims of non-compliance, ensuring a strong case in court.

Court Representation: Your lawyer will represent you in court, advocating for your interests and the best interests of your child.


Enforcement of custody orders is essential to ensure that both parents adhere to the terms established by the court and to protect the well-being of the child. Violations of custody orders can have serious implications, and various legal remedies are available to address these issues. From contempt of court to modification of custody orders, a Tampa custody lawyer can guide you through the enforcement process, helping you achieve a resolution that upholds the best interests of your child and maintains your parental rights. By taking prompt and decisive action, you can ensure compliance with custody orders and foster a stable and supportive environment for your child.

Tampa Divorce Lawyer

Tampa Divorce Lawyer

If you have inquiries about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, or if you need expert legal assistance in other areas of Family Law in Tampa, Florida or Asheville, North Carolina—including high asset divorces—please don’t hesitate to reach out to Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group for a detailed discussion of your case. Damien is available for contact via phone at 813-428-3400 or by email at [email protected].

Additionally, we are excited to offer online prenuptial agreements. For more information about this convenient service, please contact us to explore how our online prenup option can meet your needs.