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Interference with child custody orders

After a child custody and visitation order has been issued by a court in Alaska, sometimes one parent will act in a manner that violates the orders. Such a situation can be highly frustrating and potentially emotionally damaging to the child, in addition to inconveniencing the other parent. When such a situation occurs, there are certain steps the parent may take.

As a first matter of course, the parent who believes the orders are being violated should try to discuss it with the other parent. Trying to determine the reason behind the other parent's actions may be helpful in adjusting the orders as necessary. In some cases, the parents will share joint decision-making responsibility, and one parent will either refuse to participate or will refuse to agree to anything regarding the child's educational, medical or religious upbringing needs. In other cases, a parent may consistently show up late, not show up at all or may not participate in such things as needed care for the child.

In the event talking to the other parent does not work, the parent may file a motion requesting the court either modify the existing order or enforce it. By doing so, the parent may be able to secure relief.

Custody issues are unfortunately quite common despite the existence of a court order. In the event that discussing them does not work, a parent may benefit by seeking the help of a family law attorney. An attorney may be able to help the parent resolve the issue through negotiation. If negotiation does not work, the attorney may help by filing a motion with the court. Parents should remember that the focus should always be on what is in the child's best interests, as that standard is the primary one the court will apply.

Source: FindLaw, "Custody or Visitation Interference", accessed on Feb. 3, 2015

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