Friday, June 28, 2013

Boise Divorce Attorney - 208-472-2383 - Enforcing a Child Custody Visitation Schedule

Child Custody Visitation
As the 4th of July approaches, I, like numerous other Boise Divorce Attorneys, are getting frantic calls about enforcing the holiday visitation schedule.  Without fail, these individuals are worried that the other parent won't honor the visitation order and they won't get their holiday visitation.  What can be done?

There are different approaches to enforcing a child custody visitation schedule.  There are two different approaches that I want to focus on today.  The first is by involving law enforcement.  The second is involving the court.  What are the pros and cons of each?

Law Enforcement

It is always important to keep your court ordered visitation schedule with you when you are picking up and dropping off your child.  If you have agreed to meet at a particular location for regular drop off and pick up, it is also very important to have that information in hand.  Say for example, you are supposed to meet your child's other parent at the Albertson's parking lot on Fairview.  You arrive on the 4th of July at the designated time and the parent fails to show up.  If you have your visitation schedule with you and you know where the other party is, you can call the police.  Once you have shown them your order and where you were supposed to meet, the police can intervene.  Of course, this is predicated on you knowing where the other party is.


Contempt is a process where you go before the Court.  You show the Court that the other party is in violation of the court order and you ask the Judge to punish the other party for intentionally disregarding the order.  Contempt can carry some severe penalties which the Judge may or may not impose on the other party, such as jail time or a fine. The remedy of Contempt takes time because you need to motion the Court and come before the Judge to present evidence.

Pros and Cons

Obviously, involving the police can be a faster remedy.  It, however, isn't always possible, especially if you don't know where the other party or the child is.  You also may end up with an officer who is hesitant to help you enforce your order.  The option of Contempt is slower but it may have longer lasting effects.  Judges do not like it when people disregard their orders.  If a party upsets a Judge by disobeying their order, that party will know that the Judge won't put up with further shenanigans.

Hopefully, your 4th of July and all your holiday visitations will transpire smoothly and without incident.  If, however, you find yourself in need of a Boise Divorce Attorney to help you with your custody, visitation or modification issues, please give us a call, 208-472-2383.  You will be glad you did.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Boise Divorce Attorney (208) 472-2383 Custody Agreements

Parenting Plan and Custody Agreements
Boise Divorce Attorneys will tell you that most judges prefer that a divorcing couple come to an agreement as to what their custody arrangement will be, rather than making the decision for them.  Judges know that each couple knows their family dynamics best.  They know how their family works.  No two families are alike so there cannot simply be one parenting plan and one custody arrangement.  Custody isn't a one size fits all proposition.

How are Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements Decided Upon?
After filing for divorce, serving the complaint upon the other party and after the defendant's response is filed, one of the first things that divorce attorneys do is see what issues can be worked out.  If the parties already have in mind a custody arrangement that will work for them or is working for them, they can reduce that agreement to writing, establish temporary orders along those lines and eventually have the agreement signed and incorporated into the final divorce decree by the judge.

Unfortunately, in the real world it is not always that easy.  Often the emotions of divorce get in the way and the process is clouded by hurt feelings or feelings of mistrust or anger.  If the parties cannot agree as to how custody will be split or how they will parent during the interim, the judge in a divorce case will send them to mediation.  The aim of mediation is to help the parties work out a parenting arrangement that will work best for them.  The court has approved mediators from whom it will accept mediation agreements.  The parties will be asked to use their best effort to work out an agreement that will work for them.

What Happens When You Can't Agree?
If you make a good faith effort in mediation but cannot come to an agreement, the judge will make the decision for you.  The judge will look at the situation and use a set of statutory criteria to decide what is in the best interest of the child.  Once this is done, this will be your custody arrangement, whether you like it or not.  That is why it is critical to use your best effort to come up with an mutually acceptable agreement with the other parent.

Will the Judge Always Accept Your Parenting Agreement?
For the most part, if you come up with a mutually agreeable parenting arrangement, the judge will accept it and sign it, making it a part of the final decree.  There are, however, situations where a judge will absolutely not sign the agreement.  By statute, all custody arrangements must be in the best interest of the child.  If a judge looks at your agreement and determines that it does not fit the criteria, he or she can and will make you either voluntarily change the agreement, or will make the decision for you based upon the criteria that make up the best interest of the child. 

Perhaps the most frequent time this occurs is when you have extended absences away from each parent.  For example, judges frown on arrangements where a very young child lives for an entire year with one parent and then switches the next year to the other parent.  Part of being is in the best interest of child includes frequent and regular contact with both parents.

If you are seeking a divorce or need to speak to a Boise Divorce Attorney, please give us a call, (208) 472-2383, and see what we can do for you.