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Amber E.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1464
Experience:  Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
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I am the legal custodian of my 15 year old grandson. He visited

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I am the legal custodian of my 15 year old grandson. He visited his mother in Michigan and now she refuses to bring him back. What is my course of action.
When a party refuses to comply with a court order, the other party has several different options available. A simple option is to have an attorney draft a demand letter, including a copy of the court order and demanding compliance on the threat of suit. A more proactive approach, if feasible, is to take the court order to the local authorities where the child is being held and see if they will enforce it. This may require registering the order with the local court, and you may contact the clerk of court there for information on their registration process (it can vary by court).

The most common approach is to file suit against that party for the return of the child, this is especially sought after when the letter doesn't work, when the authorities are no help, or when you are dealing with someone who simply won't cooperate without judicial action. An example of the kind of suit that may be filed is a motion for contempt. Your attorney may even include an emergency order that when signed by the judge would allow the child to be retrieved and returned immediately. Emergency orders are typically granted in cases where there is a risk of abuse or neglect. The court will then schedule a hearing and serve the other party, and may direct that the person withholding the child bring the child to court (or at least back to its jurisdiction). At the hearing, the court will determine whether the failure to comply with the court order was intentional and willful, or not. If found to be in contempt, then the court may punish the offending party by ordering her to pay fines, court costs and your attorney's fee, as well as any expenses incurred in trying to get the child back, possibly even sentence her to jail.

Because contested custody actions are rather complex, particularly those involving interstate disputes, it is suggested that you retain an attorney to assist you. Contempt cases are sometimes taken on a contingency basis, meaning no upfront fee, because you are likely to be awarded attorney fees at the conclusion of the suit. If you are unable to locate an attorney to take the case on a contingency and if you are unable to afford an attorney, then you may contact your local legal aid office for representation at no cost or contact the local bar association for pro bono referral. Even private attorneys can be retained for the limited purpose of preparing the paperwork for you, which is far less expensive than full representation and goes a long way to getting you into court so that you can make your case for return of the child.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The custody order was done here in North Carolina do I start all proceedings here or do I have to file proceedings in Michigan?

The court that issued the order that is being violated has what we call "continuing jurisdiction," this means that any subsequent action (such as a motion for contempt) in the case can be filed there.

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