The method you choose when forming a custody agreement will impact how you can enforce it.
Co-parents may go through the court to come to an agreement on custody, or they make a determination on their own.
Enforcement without a court order
The court and police will not enforce a custody agreement unless it is an official court order. The only exception is if your child is in immediate danger. If you have issues in negotiating with your co-parent about custody, filing for an official court order could be the best course of action.
Enforcement with a visitation and custody order
With a court-ordered custody agreement, you have more enforcement options. You can first attempt to reach an agreement on your own, even with a custody order. When compromise does not work, you can report the other parent to the court.
Police can lawfully enforce a court order for custody. However, they often prefer to avoid involvement in small disputes. When the disagreement reaches the level of becoming a danger to the child, such as potential abuse or kidnapping, they will step in.
Examples of serious violations
Violations that could lead you back to court, seeking a custody modification or official order. Examples include:
- Compromising use of drugs or alcohol that can impact the ability to care for the children
- Frequently missing scheduled visitations or showing up late
- Not taking the children to healthcare appointments, school or counseling
When one parent has a history of unreliability or other parental issues, a formal custody order is a form of insurance for the other parent.