How to Enforce a Child Custody Order in North Carolina?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


When a court issues a child custody order, the parents must fulfill their parental obligations and comply with the order. Unfortunately, a parent may refuse to honor their custody obligations. When this happens, the other parent has a right to enforce the child custody order and hold the non-compliant parent accountable for their failure to abide by the rules.

child-custody-order-violation-Monroe-Charlotte-Mooresville-Family-Attorney-300x226If the other parent has violated a custody order in North Carolina, you might be wondering how you can enforce the order to force your ex-spouse to fulfill their obligations. Schedule a consultation with our family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to help you enforce a child custody order in your case.


When Should I Enforce a Child Custody Order in North Carolina?

When a parent fails or refuses to comply with the child custody order, it is usually best to try to resolve your dispute without getting the court involved. However, it is not always possible to resolve disputes without enforcing a child custody order.

If your attorney has advised you to move forward with your petition for enforcement, enforcing the order may be the only viable option in your case.

Contrary to popular belief, a co-parent’s failure to fulfill their parental obligations is not the only reason to enforce a child custody order. Other reasons to enforce a child custody order include:

  • You suspect that your former spouse may kidnap or relocate with your child without your permission
  • The other parent leaves the state or country with the child
  • You fear that the co-parent may abuse or neglect your child


Enforcing a Child Custody Order in North Carolina

In order to enforce a child custody order in North Carolina, take the following three steps:

  • Contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your situation, understand your options, and protect your rights.
  • File an appropriate motion with the court to hold the co-parent in contempt for violating the child custody order.
  • Wait for the judge’s decision in your case. If the other parent is held in contempt of court for violating the order, they may face serious penalties.


What are the Penalties for Violating a Child Custody Order in North Carolina?

Fortunately, you can hold the co-parent accountable for their violation of the child custody order. This can be done through a motion asking the court to enforce the order. If the other parent fails or refuses to comply with a child custody order, they may face serious consequences.

Before punishing a non-compliant parent for violating the conditions of the child custody order, the judge will have to determine that the parent is in contempt of court.

To be held in contempt of court in North Carolina, there must be evidence that the parent willfully disregarded the court order. Penalties for violating a child custody order may include:

  • Fines
  • Jail sentence
  • Modification of the order
  • Compensatory visitation
  • Attorney’s fees associated with filing a motion to enforce the order

Contact our Charlotte child custody attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to identify your best course of action when seeking to enforce a court order. Get a phone or video consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.





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