Child custody is a serious issue – whether you’re a divorce parent or have a child out of wedlock, obtaining an order from the court laying out your custody rights is crucial.
That being said, we often hear parents who wonder ‘will police enforce child custody in Georgia?’ The answer is more complicated than a parent might want – it is up to the discretion of the officer involved, and if your court order is not clear and detailed as to who the child should be with when, and why, then the police are allowed to decline to enforce child custody.
Now, in most situations where a child’s safety is at risk or a court order specifically instructs them to, police officers will be more inclined to intervene.
But for the most part, police typically do not engage in civil matters, including enforcing child custody orders – especially if there is a discrepancy between the parents.
In this post, we’ll seek to understand the legal framework and the role of law enforcement in custody cases.
Let’s take a look.
Can a Custodial Parent Deny Visitation in Georgia?
In Georgia, a custodial parent does not have the right to deny visitation arbitrarily.
The court’s primary concern is the best interest of the child, and maintaining relationships with both parents is typically part of that.
If a custodial parent denies visitation without a valid reason, it could lead to legal consequences – even as severe as taking custody from that parent and giving the child to the other parent.
While the police may or may not directly enforce visitation rights, they can document instances of denial, which can be useful in future court proceedings.
So, even if you don’t think the police will do anything, still report the incident to show that you took this seriously and to have a detailed record of the date, time, and narrative of the custodial parent denying you visitation.
Withholding a Child from Another Parent with Court Order Georgia
Withholding a child from another parent with a court order in Georgia is of course a serious matter.
This action could potentially be considered contempt of court. In Georgia, contempt of court in a civil matter, such as violation of a custody order, can lead to penalties ranging from fines to jail time, with the ultimate goal of ensuring compliance with the court’s directives.
The police can be involved if a court order specifically mandates their intervention.
More commonly, such issues are handled through legal channels with penalties including fines, custody modifications, or even jail time.
When Can You Deny Visitation to the Non-Custodial Parent Georgia?
In Georgia, denying visitation to the non-custodial parent is only justified under specific circumstances, such as when the child’s safety is at risk.
If there’s a legitimate concern, it should be reported to the authorities. While the police might not directly enforce visitation, they can provide necessary protection and documentation in cases involving potential harm or danger.
You can also call the responding officer as a witness in later court proceedings to show that your child really was in harm’s way, and that you were justified in withholding otherwise court-ordered visitation.
Can I Call the Police If My Ex Won’t Let Me See My Child?
If your ex refuses to let you see your child, you may wonder if you can call the police. We certainly think you should consider it – because while they might not directly enforce a custody agreement, they can provide a report documenting the incident.
And this documentation could be crucial evidence if you decide to take the matter to court.
How Severe Does a Custody Agreement Violation Have to Be Before a Court Will Help Me?
In Georgia, any violation of a custody agreement is taken seriously.
However, the severity and frequency of the violation often dictate the court’s response.
Consistent or blatant disregard for the agreement, particularly if it harms the child’s wellbeing, will likely prompt court intervention.
Involving law enforcement to document these violations can strengthen your case.
Contempt of Court Child Visitation Georgia
Contempt of court in Georgia regarding child visitation is a serious offense.
If a parent consistently disobeys a court-ordered visitation schedule, they may face penalties such as fines, changes in custody arrangements, or even jail time.
While police do not typically enforce the underlying custody orders – unless the terms are very clear and detailed – their involvement can provide necessary documentation if the matter goes to court.
Additionally, if a contempt is found against one parent, then the police could enforce an arrest warrant, if that is part of the sanctions for the contempt.
How Long Can a Parent Withhold a Child from Another Parent?
In Georgia, there’s no set time limit for how long a parent can withhold a child from another parent. Really, you’re not supposed to withhold a child at all on your own without a court order – if you have a valid reason, you need to bring the matter before the court immediately to seek to change or update your custody order.
However, any denial of court-ordered visitation can potentially be seen as contempt of court. And you could go to jail, face fines, or even have the child taken away from you, if you are found in contempt of the court’s custody order.
While police generally do not enforce child custody agreements in Georgia, their involvement can provide critical documentation if legal action is necessary.
It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney in any situation involving potential breaches of child custody or visitation orders.