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Sanctions for Violating Parenting Time Orders

A child's drawing

It is frustrating when you represent a client who has a clear Order governing custody and parenting time, but the terms of that Order are constantly thwarted by the other parent.  Court rules and previous cases provide for a host of remedies to enforce a Court Order.  For example, a court can award compensatory parenting time, order the violating party to perform community service, or alter the existing parenting time schedule, to name a few remedies.

A recent case gave some teeth to the remedy of sanctions against the violating party.  After neglecting to abide by a reunification therapy provision in a custody and parenting time Order, followed by numerous enforcement Orders entered by the trial court, the Appellate Division in Brinkrode resorted to monetary sanctions against the offending party as a consequence to continued disregard for the court’s Orders.  Specifically, the offending party was sanctioned $5 per day for a certain period of time until she cooperated with the reunification therapy process, and if that consequence did not move her to comply, an increased sanction of $100 per day was to be imposed.  It was the Court’s expectation that these monetary sanctions would force compliance and, certainly, $100 per day is quite a substantial expense.

The Brinkrode decision is an incredibly reliable instrument to have in the tool box when seeking enforcement of a prior Court Order.  Cases that warrant monetary sanctions may also warrant an application for a change in custody to ensure parenting time is in compliance and protected.  If you are experiencing difficulties with enforcement of a parenting time Order, please call me to discuss your concerns.  If you have any questions or concerns about this post or any other matrimonial/family law issue, please do not hesitate to contact me at jllawrence@nmmlaw.com.