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What Are Your Options If The Other Parent Does Not Return A Child From A Custody Visit?


It can be incredibly difficult and frustrating if the other parent refuses to return a child after a custody visit. However, if you have a Custody Order or written Custody Agreement in place, there are steps you can take to remedy the situation.

If the other parent refuses to return your child, or refuses to abide by the terms of your custody arrangement, reach out to our Pittsburgh child custody lawyer at Bunde & Roberts, P.C., to discuss your options for assistance with enforcement. Each case is unique, which is why it is necessary to consider all relevant factors to know how to best proceed with your situation.

Understand the Custody Agreement

The first step is for both parents to know and understand their rights and responsibilities under the Custody Order or written Custody Agreement.

This means understanding the exact physical custody schedule, as well as details such as transportation responsibilities regarding pick-up and drop-off times and locations. If either parent fails to adhere to these obligations, they may be in violation of the Custody Order or written Custody Agreement, and could face legal consequences. Often, parents do not fully understand the terms of their custody arrangements, and this could lead to unnecessary arguments and conflict with each other.

Document the Incidents

When you are dealing with a parent who is regularly in breach of a Custody Order or written Custody Agreement, it is helpful to document the incidents as they occur.  Maintaining a calendar or journal where you record these problems will help you if you need legal intervention.  It is far easier to refer to contemporaneously made notes than to try to reconstruct events from memory.

Contact Law Enforcement

If the other parent refuses to return the child within a reasonable amount of time (as set forth in your Custody Order or Written Custody Agreement), you may need to contact law enforcement for assistance. Your first call should always be to your lawyer, if you have one.  However, your lawyer may recommend taking this step in certain circumstances.  If you are genuinely concerned about any legitimate safety issues, such as abuse or flight from the jurisdiction, then you should contact 911 so that law enforcement can intervene as soon as possible.

Speak with an Attorney

If there has been only one isolated instance where the other parent refused to return the child, it is less likely that this will continue to occur in the future. However, if this is a repeating pattern, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney. In some cases, it may be necessary to modify the existing Custody Order or written Custody Agreement. A modification is possible when it serves the best interests of the child.

Contact Bunde & Roberts, P.C., to Get a Consultation

When a parent refuses to return a child after scheduled visitation, or fails to abide by the terms of the custody exchange, it can be an incredibly stressful situation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take. Consider speaking with an experienced attorney to determine your best course of action. Our lawyers at Bunde & Roberts, P.C., will review the details of your situation and advise you on your legal options. Call 412-391-4330 today for a consultation.

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