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There is not an official age, though the common belief is 16. Once a child turns 16, they have a right to be emancipated legally, and that is usually enough for a judge to lay off a little in dictating who has custody. A 16-year-old can usually decide where they want to stay.

If One Or Both Parents Are Not Following A Parenting Agreement That’s Been Put In Place, What Can Be Done?

It’s inevitable that there are going to be some allegations and even real violations of an order. When that happens, the age-old remedy would be to file your contempt. It can’t just be a personal infraction; there has to be a legal infraction that you’re going after in terms of a contempt. After a few months, you’ll get a contempt hearing and be able to argue that the other parent is not following the schedule or has done something to violate the order. And in some cases, that works. The problem with a contempt is that you need to show two things: one, the other parent violated the order, and two, they have the ability to follow the order but deliberately violated it. Then, you need to also have a substantial remedy, and if you don’t have any remedy, a contempt is really useless. You might ask for fine or for makeup days. Some parents ask to change custody based on the contempt, though I’ve yet to see the courts do that.

There’s always an excuse for why the parent couldn’t follow the order that one time or those times. They might be able to purge their contempt, or at least get out of it without losing their custody rights. Contempt, therefore, isn’t always effective, though it is a mechanism the court has. Of course, if there’s been a serious violation, then contempt is the right way to go about it.

You can also file a motion to enforce an order, which is the less punitive remedy. This motion does often work to get compliance with the order. Another option the part has would be to file a modification of the order if it’s not working the way that it was written. And then, of course, there are emergency orders. Let’s say a parent is not returning a child and the child is in some kind of danger. You can file an emergency action to get the child returned or to get the contempt order followed. You can call the police if it’s that dramatic of a situation. Those things do occur, and a lot people will call the police first. You can do a welfare check with the police, but most people will take that emergency route first when they’re really panicking or when someone’s not following an order.

Even if it’s just a temporary order (not the final order at trial), it still is an order, and the other party has to follow it. If they don’t, then they can be brought to justice, so to speak, by the court. The courts. are usually careful before they start taking dramatic actions and will often seek a remedy, unless something more is warranted. If they don’t think it’s an emergency, they’ll just throw it into a regular case. I’ve seen the courts be very harsh at contempt hearings, and I’ve seen them back off with the contempt, so there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get what you want.

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Attorney Andrei Blakely spent nearly ten years as a journalist before settling down to practice family law in Baltimore and Montgomery County in Maryland. Attorney Blakely’s clear and straightforward communication gives a fresh perspective on topics critical to many Maryland families while rendering obscure and complex legal concepts accessible and empowering for his readers.

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