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Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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What happens if a noncustodial parent fails to take the child

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What happens if a noncustodial parent fails to take the child to therapy (which is court ordered) during their visitation time?
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*


Thank you for your question. I am a Florida licensed attorney. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

The custodial parent may consider bringing a contempt action to compel the noncustodial parent to adhere to the order

Generally speaking, when someone violates the court orders they are considered to be in contempt of court. To enforce your rights you would file a motion for contempt. In that motion you indicate that the noncustodial parent failed to take the child to therapy as court ordered.

The remedy for contempt can include jail time, a monetary fine, a reduction in parenting time and/or any other remedy the court finds appropriate

I would be glad to continue our conversation and respond to any follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The noncustodial parent (the mother) lost visitations before and just recently got them back. Will something like being in contempt of court take her visitations away all together? This is the second time something has happened during her visitation. She only gets three a year.

The complete loss of visitation is a possibility but usually the court will exhaust other remedies first. For example, depending upon the circumstances, the court may order only supervised visitation or visitation to occur other than during the therapy
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The mother has a specific time and date to return the child. She is court ordered to fly with the child and drop her off at her home. But since she has no money or car she's depending on the fathers family to get the child. What happens if she is late and refuses to take the child all the way to her home? She only plans on taking her to the airport and flying with her.

Again she would be in contempt of court. She is required to follow the letter of the court order
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If she is late returning the child, should we call the police?if we agree to pick up the child mid way is she still in contempt?

If you believe the child is in danger and has not been timely returned, you should call the police. If you do not believe that the child is in danger, it would be reasonable to bring the late delivery of the child to the court's attention during the contempt proceeding
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If we agree to pick up the child at the airport because the mother is stuck there is she still in contempt of court? We will pick her up if we have to but we want the mother to take responsibility for her actions. She had visitations suspended before so as part of the restoration of the visitations she had a strict court orders, such as therapy sessions and punctuality.

If you agree to pick the child up the airport in advance of the visitation, a court likely would not find the mother to be in contempt. However if you pick up the child at the airport because the mother arrives at the airport with the child and calls and tells you that you need to pick up the child, the mother would likely be held in contempt
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Also, the child has called asking the father, the stepmother, and the father's family to stop being mean to her mom because it makes her cry. The mother admitted in a text to crying to the child because of the situation between her and the father. We have never spoken ill of the mother in front of the child and the child's therapist here says that she is in a good environment with us. We believe she is coaching the child to ask for an apology from us to her mom. She is very young, only five, and wouldnt say this on her own. Can we bring this up in court that the mother is putting the child in emotional distress? This is her longest visitation so she has time to tell the child everything about this ugly situation.
Yes – you can bring your suspicions to the judge
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We go to court next month to try to revoke the mothers visitations. It just got transferred from dependency court to family court. How serious may the judge consider the offense of putting the child in emotional distress? How do we prove that the mother is doing this? We only have texts messages and phone calls showing this happened but we can't use that. The only other tool we have is whatever the child tells her therapist when she gets home. Is the therapist's testimony enough proof to show the emotional stress the mother out the child through?

Typically you would be able to use the text messages, the phone calls as well as the therapist testimony. The judge has wide discretion when it comes to the welfare of a child

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