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What to Do If Your Spouse Fails to Return Child from Parenting Time

One of the most frustrating and even alarming things that can happen during a New Jersey divorce, or after a marriage dissolution has been granted, is a situation in which a noncustodial parent fails to return child from parenting time. If you find yourself in such a situation, there are some specific considerations that you need to bear in mind.

Remain Calm and Gather Information

It is essential to stay composed and gather as much information as possible about the situation. This will help you make informed decisions and develop a plan of action moving forward. Take note of any relevant details, such as dates, times, and any conversations or interactions you've had with your spouse.

Contact Your Spouse

Open communication can sometimes help resolve misunderstandings or disagreements. Reach out to your spouse to express your concern about the situation and inquire about the reasons for their actions. Be respectful and try to maintain a constructive dialogue, as this may lead to a resolution without the need for further legal intervention. Keep in mind that in a situation in which a parent fails to return a child from parenting time, useful communication often proves impossible.

Review the Parenting Agreement or Court Order

Take the time to carefully review your parenting agreement or court order. Familiarize yourself with the specific terms regarding parenting time, including any provisions related to the return of the child. Understanding your legal rights and obligations is crucial in effectively addressing the situation.

Inform Your Attorney

Contact your attorney and inform them about the situation as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to provide you with expert legal guidance and advice tailored to your specific circumstances. They can help you understand the legal options available to you and guide you through the process of protecting your parental rights.

Document Communication Attempts

Keep a detailed record of any attempts to communicate with your spouse regarding the situation. Note down the dates, times, and methods of communication, as well as their responses or lack thereof. This documentation can serve as important evidence later on if legal action becomes necessary.

Consider Filing a Police Report

If your spouse does not return your child within a reasonable time frame and you have exhausted other options, consider filing a police report. This step can help establish a formal record of the situation and involve law enforcement in the resolution process. Provide the police with all the relevant information and documentation you have gathered. If you believe that your child may be in some sort of danger under the circumstances, you definitely do need to make contact with law enforcement.

Gather Evidence About the Situation

When your spouse fails to return a child from parenting time, collect all relevant evidence regarding the situation. This includes collecting any evidence that demonstrates your sincere efforts to resolve the issue amicably. This type of evidence may include emails, text messages, or any other form of communication that showcases your attempts to reach a resolution. Additionally, gather any witnesses who can testify to your commitment to your child's well-being and your efforts to adhere to the parenting agreement or court order.

Consult with Your Attorney About Legal Action

Work closely with your attorney to evaluate the possibility of filing a motion for enforcement or contempt with the court. Your attorney can guide you on the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case. They will help you understand the legal processes involved and represent your interests in court if necessary. Do not take matters into your own end and attempt to make an end-run around the legal process available to you.

Follow Your Attorney's Guidance and Advice

It is crucial to follow the guidance of your attorney throughout the legal process in a matter involving the failure of the other parent to return the child from parenting time. They will have the expertise and knowledge to navigate the system effectively and help safeguard your parental rights. Be proactive in providing any requested information or documentation and maintain open communication with your attorney as your case progresses. If you have any questions concerning child custody, call today at 201 845-7400 for a free consultation,

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Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
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*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances