In Georgia, judges see joint custody as the better custody arrangement because it allows parents to continue to take an equal part in their children’s lives despite the fact that they are no longer living together. But just because parents are supposed to share legal and physical custody equally doesn’t always mean it happens.
In some circumstances, parents will knowingly ignore the terms of a custody arrangement out of spite for their ex-spouse. They may purposefully skip visitation days or only drop of one child and withhold the others during a scheduled time. In many cases, noncustodial parents are on the receiving end of this maliciousness, which oftentimes leads to the question:
Can my ex withhold visitation and custody?
The answer is no, if you have a valid custody arrangement in place and you have proof that your ex-spouse is purposefully disobeying the court order. An individual who does not follow a judge’s order is considered to be in contempt of court, which is a punishable offense in Georgia.
If a noncustodial parent suspects that their ex is intentionally failing to meet the terms of a custody arrangement, they can file a Motion for Contempt with the court along with a series of documents that can eventually lead to a contempt of court ruling against the offending spouse.
Under Georgia law, a person cited for contempt of court can not only be punished by a fine or a jail sentence, they will also be required to pay the petitioning party’s attorney’s fees and filing costs.
Seeking legal counsel is a good idea
Although it is possible to file a Motion for Contempt form on your own, it’s best to do so with the help of a family law attorney.
The petition process requires specific knowledge of the legal process as well as an understanding of what paperwork needs to be filed, what needs to be included in that paperwork and at what time it needs to be filed in accordance with the law. Lawyers experienced in child custody matters typically know this particular process well and are more equipped to handle these types of cases than the average person.