It can be very destructive to not only the parents but also the children when one parent refuses to comply with enforcement of child custody orders. If you are experiencing custodial interference, this is a good opportunity to reach out to your Arizona family lawyer and talk about options.

Basics of Custody Schedules and Agreements

Either by a court order or by agreement, a Parenting Plan sets forth the schedule of parenting time (formerly called “visitation”) for each party and the children. The Plan should be complied with by both parents unless the parties agree to make a specific change in writing.  In cases of an emergency that may require a deviation from the Plan, you should consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action.

In the event a parent violates the Plan in a way that was not agreed to by the other party, enforcement of parenting agreements and custody orders helps parents get their parenting time restored. Sometimes the other parent can engage in custodial interference by refusing to comply with an existing order, making life difficult not just for the children but for the parents, too. If you have tried earnestly to work things out on your own, but the other parent will not cooperate, you may need to  seek outside assistance, including a possible court action.

Ideally, the family lawyers in your case will be able to demonstrate the importance of compliance with the orders when they are entered by the court, but the other parent may purposely try to evade the terms of the order in order to suit his or her interests.

What Enforcement Means

Enforcement of an order will involve the family court system in Arizona. If the situation involves matters of parental kidnapping,  violence,and other instances involving severe custodial interference, criminal authorities may also become involved.

After a parenting plan is developed and approved by an Arizona court, all parties are bound by the provisions included inside. Violations of this agreement are punishable in several different ways (for example, by awarding make up parenting time, by modifying the terms of the plan, or by imposing financial or other sanctions), and are usually heard in contempt of court proceedings. If the violation warrants criminal proceedings too, federal kidnapping charges could be pursued.

What to Do Next

You need to speak to your Arizona family lawyer about the next steps you need to take if the other party is not complying with an existing child custody order. It can be very frustrating as a parent to not be able to expect the children back at a certain time or to have to deal with a parent who is irate and otherwise unwilling to work with you on compliance with the provisions inside an existing order.

Make sure you keep documentation of all instances where interference happens, including your communication with the other parent. This may become especially helpful for contempt of court proceedings if the other party is admitting to purposefully keeping the children from you or refusing to comply with the order. If the situation escalates and you are not able to get the other parent to comply with the order on your own, you may need to pursue contempt of court. Having an Arizona family lawyer you already trust to help you with this situation can be invaluable.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Enforcement of Child Custody Orders, or other family law issues,  please feel free to contact our Family Law Section at  480.461.5300, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.