Those subject to a custody order that awards them parenting time should be able to spend an appropriate amount of time with their children. Their co-parent should arrive on time for regular exchanges so that they can maintain their relationship with the children.
Unfortunately, some people truly resent needing to support a co-parent’s relationship with their children. They may do whatever they can to interfere in that relationship, including refusing to send the children with the other parent or simply failing to show up at custody exchanges.
There are few things more emotionally devastating than losing contact with or access to one’s children. Can a frustrated parent in Tennessee count on the family courts to help them when a co-parent won’t abide by an existing custody order?
Tennessee has a variety of enforcement options available
When one parent reaches out to the family courts alleging that the other has not upheld the custody or visitation order, they generally need proof of multiple infractions. The more frequently and egregiously one parent violates the order, the easier it will be to convince the courts that enforcement action is necessary.
Sometimes, a judge will rebuke one parent and possibly grant the other make-up parenting time for missed sessions with the children. In cases where the issue has gone on for some time, judges may even decide to modify the existing custody order. In scenarios where it seems like punitive action is necessary, enforcement actions can potentially include suspending someone’s driver’s license.
The idea is essentially to prompt someone into compliance by imposing highly inconvenient consequences for their decision to ignore a court order because of their personal wishes. A parent who has failed to put a child’s best interests first will not only harm the children and their co-parent but also themselves if the other parent has to go to court for enforcement support.
Sometimes, the issues that cause co-parenting challenges are outside of the control of either parent. Calm communication and a reasonable effort to resolve the issue amicably are usually preferable to going back to court immediately. However, knowing what enforcement options exist is important for those denied access to their children. Enforcing a custody order can be as important as securing favorable custody terms during the initial family court sessions.