Child Custody Violations: Parenting Time Enforcement Options


When a parent violates a court-ordered child custody agreement, they could face some serious consequences. Read more about more what happens when custody arrangements are ignored.

When a Parent Violates Court-Ordered Child Custody

Unfortunately, former spouses sometimes use their children to get back at each other, from withholding parenting time to outright violating court-ordered custody arrangements. This is never a good idea and will most certainly backfire. Violating custody orders can have severe legal consequences, not to mention an emotional impact on the children involved.

One of the best ways to avoid child custody disputes in the first place is good communication with your former spouse and placing your child or children first in the decision-making process.

It’s important that you overlook your differences and make joint decisions that will benefit your child – not hurt them. This can be very difficult for some people when they are caught up in the litigation process.

Parental Options for Enforcing Custody Arrangements

Unfortunately, not all former spouses can come to an agreement without help. Many counties in Oregon offer free mediation through the circuit court to help assist parenting in reaching an agreement. If you’re experiencing issues with a custody arrangement, there are legal remedies available to you.

First, if you have an amicable relationship with your former spouse, sometimes just talking it out in a respectful manner can resolve the dispute. Litigating a custody dispute can be expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining. Usually both parents and the children benefit from pursuing informal methods of trying to reach an agreement, so talk it out first.

If you’re divorced, then hopefully you have a very clear child custody arrangement that outlines the rules for both of you so there is no question about where the children should be at a given time. The best time to dispute a custody arrangement is during the divorce proceedings as they may be difficult to modify after the fact. However, the court does understand that life changes and there may be need to update the parental plan. If you have an issue with the current arrangement, you should seek out a child custody attorney to determine whether you should submit a Motion for Modification of Custody and/or parenting time with the court. It’s important not to take matters in your own hands – always go through the proper legal channels. This does not mean that you still can’t work on reaching a settlement with the other parent, but any change you make to the custody and/or parenting time arrangement, you will want to be reduced to a court order so that it will be legally recognized.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a former partner that is violating the order and refuses to cooperate, you may need to take legal action. There are two types of forms you can file. If the other parent is violating parenting time, you can submit a Petition for Enforcement of parenting time. A hearing will be held within 45 days of the filing. The hearing is scheduled quickly because the court does not want one parent unilaterally changing the parenting time schedule.

It’s important that you bring adequate documentation showing the parenting plan or custody arrangement has been violated. Judges are not receptive to allegations without evidence. Showing up unprepared to your hearing could ruin your chances of enforcement.

Filing for Contempt of Court

Regardless of whether you’re asking to modify the parenting plan or enforce custody, it’s important to understand that under Oregon family law, the court can significantly modify the current arrangement. This means it’s possible that neither parents will get what they want and end up being stuck in a worse off situation.

You also have the option of filing A Motion for Contempt. This is a more complicated option than enforcement, and should be used as a last resort. It is a very effective tool in the right situation. If you proceed with this method, you should consider discussing your situation with a child custody lawyer first.

Hobson / Oram Law

Hobson Oram Law