What is the penalty for breaking a custody order?

What is the penalty for breaking a custody order?

In my opinion, the answer is: usually, not much. At least at first.

Take it from me: I’ve been a divorce and family lawyer now for 23 years and most (most, not all) courts don’t really do as much as people feel they should do to ensure that there will be hell to pay if child custody orders are violated (especially if the violator is the mother).

Harsh words, I know. Politically incorrect words, yes? And still no less true.

What can the penalties be for violating child custody orders? Generally speaking:

  • fines
  • compensatory service (like picking up trash on the interstate, volunteering at soup kitchens, etc.)
  • jail (only in the most egregious cases, if the court has the will to impose it)
  • orders that the noncompliant parent submit to counseling and/or take parenting and anger management classes and other such nonsense

Now if one repeatedly and unrepentantly violates custody orders with impunity the court could respond by modifying the custody order, but for that to occur the violations usually have to be highly voluminous and/or egregious.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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