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7 Steps to Take If Noncustodial Parent Fails to Return Child From New Jersey Parenting Time

Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. However, when a noncustodial parent fails to return a child from New Jersey parenting time, it can be a nightmare for the custodial parent. The reasons why a noncustodial parent may fail to return a child from parenting time can vary from a simple miscommunication to an emergency or even an intentional, improper act. Regardless of the reason, it is essential to take immediate action to ensure the safe return of the child.

There are seven steps to take if a noncustodial parent fails to return a child from New Jersey parenting time:

  • Contact the noncustodial parent
  • Document the incident
  • When to contact the police
  • Contact your attorney
  • File an Order to Show Cause (Emergent Action) or motion with the court
  • Keep lines of communication open
  • Consider counseling
Contact the Noncustodial Parent

The first step is to contact the noncustodial parent to find out why the child has not been returned. It could be something as simple as a miscommunication or a scheduling conflict. Keep the conversation respectful and calm. Try to get as much information as possible. It is important to avoid making assumptions or accusations and maintain a civil conversation.

Document the Incident

If the noncustodial parent fails to provide a reasonable explanation for why the child has not been returned, document the incident. This includes:

  • Writing down the date and time the child was supposed to be returned
  • Attempts that were made to contact the noncustodial parent
  • Any other relevant information.

This documentation may come in handy if legal action is necessary.

When to Contact the Police

If you are unable to reach the noncustodial parent and have reason to believe that the child is in danger or has been abducted, contact the police immediately. Provide them with all the information you have documented and any other relevant information. The police will issue an Amber Alert and try to locate the child. It is important to keep yourself calm and provide the necessary information to the authorities. You can also contact the police even if you do not think the child is being abducted, but the other parent is failing to return the child according to the court order. The police could call the other party and to convince them to follow the Order and return the child.

Contact Your Attorney

If the noncustodial parent has not returned the child, it is important to contact your attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you on your legal rights, help to file a motion with the court, and represent you in court if necessary. An attorney can also help you understand the legal proceedings and what to expect during the process.

File an Order to Show Cause or Motion With the Court

If the noncustodial parent has not returned the child and you have not been able to resolve the issue, file an Order to Show Cause (emergent action) or motion with the court. The court can issue an order for the noncustodial parent to return the child and can take other action if they fail to comply. It is essential to keep in mind that legal proceedings can take time and require patience. With that said, never engage in self-help in a situation involving the failure of a noncustodial parent to return a child from New Jersey parenting time.

Keep Communication Channels Open

While legal action is underway, it is important to keep communication channels open with the noncustodial parent. This includes providing updates on any legal action taken and making arrangements for the safe return of the child. It is crucial to keep the communication civil and respectful to avoid any further escalations.

Consider Counseling

If the child has been away from the custodial parent for an extended period, it may be helpful to consider counseling to help them cope with the situation. A counselor can help the child process their emotions and provide them with the support they need. It is essential to prioritize the child's mental health and well-being during this difficult time.

In conclusion, if a noncustodial parent fails to return a child from parenting time, take immediate action. With that said, make certain that any action you take is lawful and does not jeopardize the best interests of the child or your own custodial rights. You best protect your child’s interests and welfare and your own custody rights by following the recommendations set forth in this article in a situation involving a failure to return a child from New Jersey parenting time. Call 201-845-7400 for consultation.

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