Will I be Held in Contempt if I Disobey the Custody Order During a Crisis?
It depends. To be found in contempt, the Court must find that a party willfully disobeyed a Court Order in a meaningful way when they had the ability to comply with the Order. Courts generally expect parents to exercise good judgment and common sense in dealing with the other parent, preferring to elevate substance over form. If you find yourself in a crisis situation that prevents a parent from following the custody schedule, that parent should communicate with the other parent and try and find an amicable solution. Such solutions may include trading time or offering make up time. If the schedule is unworkable, a parent may file to modify the schedule, although the existing schedule remains in place until the Court issues a new Order. A parent should also communicate with their attorney about the crisis to get advice on how to proceed rather than making unilateral decisions to violate the Court Order.
If you have questions about adhering to a custody order during an emergency, please contact Patrick Boyer at 302-654-4454 or [email protected].