Child custody is a general term used to address parents' legal and/or physical custody of their child. Other terms with more specific definitions are used throughout the United States, and those terms will depend on your jurisdiction. Examples of legal terms include parenting time or allocation of parental responsibilities. Regardless of the legal term used in your state, we all understand that child custody most often refers to the legal and physical custody of your child. This is a very touchy subject and can become highly contentious during a divorce. Having an order in place is critical to ensure your child's rights, your rights, and the other parent's responsibilities are outlined, upheld, and enforced.
If you do not have a custody order in place in Minnesota, it is in your best option to petition for one. Though parents might get along today and share custody in a way that mutually works, you never know what tomorrow will bring. At Heritage Law Office, our child custody lawyer in Minnesota will guide you through the process, represent your interests and the best interests of the child, and follow up to make sure the order is implemented. When a parent fails to adhere to the order, steps inside and outside the courtroom can be taken to enforce and––in some instances —modify the order. Contact us today through our online form or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation.
Enforcement of Minnesota Child Custody Court Orders
All too often, obtaining an order from the court for child custody is only the first part of the battle. If the other parent, or person that has visitation, does not honor the agreement, the custodial parent may have to take steps to have the court order enforced. While enforcement procedures differ by jurisdiction, the most typical method is by filing a motion with the court. This motion goes by different names, such as Motion to Enforce Custody and Visitation or Motion for Civil Contempt. The court will then schedule a hearing to find out why the order has not been upheld and decide the best way to proceed.
When the police are summoned to enforce a child custody order, they may or may not become involved. Absent a criminal act, such as kidnapping, police tend to favor not being involved.
If there is an emergency, you should request an emergency hearing with the court. Emergencies include situations where one parent refuses to allow the other parent to see the child even though it is in violation of the order.
Can Child Custody Be Enforced When You Do Not Have a Court Order in Minnesota?
It is always best to have an order in place that spells out who has custody, including when and where custody occurs. Absent a child custody order in Minnesota, enforcement is difficult. There's no legal basis for the police to get involved unless a specific crime has occurred. The courts cannot do anything either. You must file a child custody petition and obtain an order.
What To Do When Child Custody Is Not Enforced inMinnesota?
When a parent fails to follow a child custody order, they are in contempt of court. You can file a motion with the court to have the other parent brought before the judge again. The judge will assess whether the order has been violated and what the response should be. Many times, it may result in a modification of the child custody order.
Contact Heritage Law Office in Minnesota. We will help you file a thorough, well-supported petition with the court. We will review your situation and provide the advice and representation you need to enforce or modify the child custody order and address any other family law issues or questions you may have.
How to Protect Your Children & Your Rights in Minnesota
If you have concerns regarding the rights of your children and yourself, it is in your best interest to take steps to protect those rights. The first matter to be addressed is having an order entered that states in clear terms that you have custody of your child. If you are in fear that another party that has no right to your child may try to take your child from you, keep a certified copy of the order on your person, and give certified copies to appropriate parties. This would include your child's school and the daycare your child attends.
Another wise action to take is to keep a detailed calendar of who has your child on any given day. Keep track of missed visitations and any other pertinent information.
Contact a Child Support Attorney in Minnesota Today
At Heritage Law Office, we know child custody is a sensitive matter. Our family law lawyer offers comprehensive family law legal services, advice, and representation. Contact us today at 414-253-8500 or complete our online form to schedule a confidential free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions regarding the child's welfare, including issues related to healthcare, education, and religion. Physical custody, on the other hand, involves the day-to-day care of the child and determines where the child will reside.
2. How Is Child Custody Determined in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child. The court considers a range of factors such as the child's age, emotional needs, the relationship with each parent, and each parent's ability to care for the child. The court may also consider the child's preference, depending on their age and maturity level.
3. Can a Parent Violate a Child Custody Order Without Consequences?
No, a parent who violates a child custody order in Minnesota can face various consequences including being held in contempt of court. Penalties may include fines, jail time, or modification of the custody arrangement. Legal action is usually initiated by the other parent filing a motion to enforce the custody order.
4. What Is a Motion to Enforce Custody and Visitation?
A Motion to Enforce Custody and Visitation is a legal document filed with the court, requesting that the existing child custody order be enforced. This motion is generally filed by the custodial parent when the other parent has violated the custody agreement. The court will schedule a hearing to investigate why the order has not been upheld and decide on the next steps.
5. Is It Necessary to Have a Child Custody Order for Enforcement?
Yes, it is critical to have an official child custody order in place for enforcement. Without a legal order, there's no authoritative document that the police or courts can enforce, making it very challenging to take action if one parent violates verbal or informal agreements.