Advocating for Your Parental Rights in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Family court orders are legally enforceable documents. Each parent also has the right to request the modification of orders under certain circumstances. If you have experienced a change in your living circumstances or have questions about the other party’s failure to meet their obligations, Ham Family Law, P.C. can help. We have been representing parents for over a decade in California, and we aim to provide compassionate counsel and assertive advocacy. We will fight for the enforcement of your order and your right to modification.
Learn more about your enforcement and modification options in an initial consultation with Ham Family Law, P.C. Schedule an initial appointment with our attorney here.
Once a judge makes an order for child custody and visitation, it becomes a court order in California and is thus enforceable by law. If the other parent acts out of line and does not follow the terms of the custody and visitation order, such as refusing to allow the child to spend the allotted time with a parent, the parent may ask local law enforcement to enforce the order or reach out to the local district attorney.
In serious situations, a parent may file a “contempt” action with the court that asks the court to enforce the order and make a finding that the other parent willfully disobeyed the order. This could result in criminal penalties against the offending parent.
Enforcing child support is a similar process, as a child support order is also a court order. In most child support cases, the court will likely order wage assignment (garnishment), which requires the paying parent’s employer to deduct support payments from the parent’s wages and transfer them to the supported parent. This can help prevent a parent’s willful failure to pay.
However, some cases may not include a wage assignment if parents agree on an alternative method of paying support. In these situations, a parent may file a contempt action with the court to enforce the payment and order criminal penalties otherwise.
The courts also allow parents to request the modification of child custody and support. After all, as a child grows older, their needs and interests may change, and a parent may move on with new opportunities in life that take them to new places.
Parents can negotiate a change to their custody or support order on their own, and they will likely have to discuss their options in mediation before proceeding to a court hearing if they cannot reach an agreement. If the modification request does go to court, the judge will only grant a modification request if:
- the requesting parent shows there has been a change in circumstances impacting the child’s best interests since the last order was made; and
- the request for a modification is based on the goal to build a stable and consistent custody arrangement for the child in the face of these life changes.
Some examples of situations that may warrant a change in custody or child support are if a parent has experienced:
- a job lay-off;
- a pay cut or other change in income;
- an injury causing disability;
- changes to their family situation (e.g., change in family size);
- a criminal sentence requiring jail time.
Child support modification requests may also require a parent to provide proof of their income and expenses, childcare expenses, medical insurance, unemployment benefits, retirement income, and their current custody and visitation arrangements, as child support is based partly on the custody situation.
If you have questions about enforcing or modifying a child custody or support order, do not hesitate to contact Ham Family Law, P.C. We will take a closer look at your situation to determine your best course of action for asserting your rights as a parent.
Whether you have questions about enforcing a court order or changing one, Ham Family Law, P.C. is ready to help. Schedule an initial consultation with our firm to get started today.
Caroline is an amazing lawyer. She was well prepared for my case and was even complimented by the Judge on her preparation. Her professionalism and compassionate demeanor helped my family through a very emotional child surname change case.