Arizona Laws for Not Following a Divorce Decree With a Child Involved

By Elizabeth Rayne

Following a divorce, it is important for parents to follow the divorce decree to avoid penalties that range from license suspension to imprisonment. In Arizona, when a divorce involves children, the divorce decree will usually contain provisions regarding child support and custody. As long as the custody and support orders were approved by the court, as opposed to a verbal agreement between the parents, either parent may ask the court to enforce the divorce decree.

Child Support Enforcement

If a parent is not making child support payments that the divorce decree requires, the other parent may either initiate an independent court action against the nonpaying parent to enforce the order or seek help from the Arizona Division of Child Support Enforcement. A parent may file the "Enforce A Court Order for Support" document with the court in the county that initially awarded child support. Courts may take several actions against a nonpaying parent, including seizing tax refunds, lottery winnings and bank accounts, and reporting the non-payment of support to credit bureaus. Additionally, the state has the discretion to suspend driver's licenses, deny passport applications and order jail time for the nonpaying parent.

Enforcing Child Custody Order

If a parent does not follow the child custody order, including preventing a parent from spending time with his child during scheduled parenting time, the parent may ask the court to enforce the order. The parent may file a "Petition to Enforce Child Custody Order" in the county where child custody was originally determined. The court may schedule a hearing to hear each parent's side of the story and award additional parenting time to one parent to make up for missed visitations. The court also has the discretion to order one parent to attend counseling sessions or pay a fee for violating the court order.

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Emergency Situations

When a parent has violated the custody order and threatened to harm the child or take the child out of the state, the court may issue a warrant to authorize law enforcement officials to take physical custody of the child. If a child does not have access to the medication or medical attention he needs, the parent who took the child is using drugs or alcohol, or the child is at risk of physical harm, the courts may consider this to be an emergency situation. Courts and law enforcement officials may step in, even if the original child custody order was issued in a different county or a different state.

Modification

Either parent may request a modification of child custody or support if circumstances have changed. Generally, child support may be modified if the income of either parent has substantially increased or decreased. For child custody, the court may modify the arrangement if it is in the best interest of the child. However, parents may not file a modification request until at least one year has passed since the original order was established, except in certain circumstances. These circumstances include when the child's physical or emotional health is endangered or there is evidence of domestic violence. If the request for modification is due to the other parent's failure to follow the custody order in a joint custody arrangement, the waiting period is six months.

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Penalties for Child Support Arrears in California
 

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New York Statute for Visitation

The best interests of the child is paramount in determinations of child custody in New York. To that end, it is preferable that parents reach a voluntary agreement instead of going to court. However, if they cannot reach an agreement, the court will make a determination as to both legal and physical custody, with the nonresidential parent generally provided visitation rights as part of sole custody orders. Further, the court may be petitioned when issues with visitation arise and the parents cannot agree.

Child Custody & Loss of Parental Rights From Drug Abuse

When a parent struggles with drug addiction, his parental rights may be affected. In some cases, child protection agencies may remove a child from a parent’s care if that parent abuses drugs. Likewise, during a divorce, a court may deny a parent custody if he has untreated drug abuse or addiction issues or terminate his parental rights entirely if he does not address his drug abuse problems. Therefore, treating the underlying illness is often key to protecting custody and parental rights.

Florida Laws on Interference With Custody & Visitation

There are many actions that can be viewed as interference with child custody in Florida. Not allowing your minor child to exercise court ordered visitation with the other parent or keeping a child longer than the time specified in the parenting plan are both considered interference with child custody. Kidnapping and certain types of interference with child custody can result in criminal charges. Parents charged with either offense might have a couple of defenses to assert. In circumstances where interference with child custody is handled by the family law courts, judges will have a number of remedies available to address the situation.

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