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When the Other Parent isn’t Following the Court Orders for Our Parenting Plan

Unfortunately, in many cases in a divorce, paternity or legal separation in San Diego Family Law Court, the orders for the parenting plan are not followed by one parent. All must obey court orders but what do you do when the other parent does not? This can be very complicated and a legal analysis needs to be made on an individual basis. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can assist you with enforcement of court orders for parenting plan and others as needed.

Legal custody is defined as making decisions regarding health, education and welfare. The vast majority of parents in San Diego have joint legal custody. This means that where the children go to school and what medical care is given as well as other decisions are made jointly.

Sometimes, one parent makes the decision without the other parent’s consent. In some cases, there is time to appear in court ex parte [on an emergency basis] and ask the Judge for an order. An example of this would be if one parent wants their child to take prescription medication and the other parent objects. This can also occur if one parent enrolls their child in a school which is not mutually agreed to. There are many other factual situations which can occur. All orders are not the same in this regard and a close and careful review and analysis of the current court order must be made first.

Generally, no prior authorization is needed for emergency treatment, whether medical or dental. A sharing of information is almost always appropriate. Some issues almost always need joint approval and pre authorization and consent. These would include changing the child’s legal surname and submitting the child to any psychiatric or psychological evaluation or testing among others. Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience in advising parents of when legal custody violations occur and what to do about them.

Physical Custody is defined as who will be parenting the children and when. This can be as simple as “week on/week off” to as complex as “day on/day off” and in between. The first analysis is the valid court order. It is advised to keep a copy of your current court order for the legal and physical custody in a safe place. Review the court order to make sure that the details are clear about when each of you will parent. If you and the other parent agree to any changes [modifications] to the Court order, then it is important to have this in writing and made a court order.

If there is non-compliance, one remedy is a Request for Order to modify legal and/or physical custody due to violation of the court orders. Normally, this will mean a mediation at Family Court Services and another hearing before the Judge. In the declaration which accompanies the pleadings, it is crucial to present all facts and any documents which support your position such as email and texts and declarations from any third parties as relevant.

If there is non-compliance of the court orders, you may also contact the police department to enforce. This is on a case by case basis and many Judges are critical of parents who involve the police in parenting disputes. Having said this, it is an option and also documents the violation.

As well, for violation of court orders, you may file a Contempt of Court. This requires four elements; valid court order; notice of court order; violation of court order and no legal defense to violation of court order. A contempt is quasi criminal and very complicated.

Free Consultation with an Experienced Attorney

The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experienced attorneys who have represented clients to enforce custody and visitation orders in San Diego Superior Court. Feel free to call 800.769.4748 for a consultation up to one half hour with a California licensed attorney to discuss your individual case. Feel free to bring in the court order for review at the consultation. Their law firm can assist with enforcement in all the family law court houses in the County of San Diego including Chula Vista, downtown San Diego, El Cajon and Vista.

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