Adjusting to a newly formed child custody order in St. Louis can be incredibly challenging for any parent. While most parents do their best to uphold their parental responsibilities in good faith, others do not, and parents who willingly violate legally enforceable parenting plans face a wide range of potential consequences, including the loss of their parental rights in response to serious violations.

When a parent refuses to pick up their child for parenting time, fails to drop off their child when their allocated parenting time ends, or otherwise violates the terms of their custody order, this can be incredibly distressing for the other parent. Additionally, intentional violations of lawful family court orders can potentially qualify for prosecution as a crime in St. Louis.

Many parents encounter frustrating incidents with their co-parents, often causing them to wonder whether such actions are justifiable grounds for legal action against their spouses. If you have a co-parent who continues to violate your parenting plan in any manner, no matter how small, it’s vital to bring this issue to the attention of the St. Louis family court before the situation escalates.

Understanding Your Custody Order and Parenting Plan in St. Louis

Family court judges handle all custody determinations in St. Louis. It may feel very disempowering for a parent to realize the final outcome of their custody dispute rests entirely in the hands of the judge, but the law requires the judge to rule in a way that best preserves the interests of the child and provides them the best chance to thrive.

A judge will evaluate multiple factors, including the financial situations of both parents, each parent’s relationship with their child, the child’s preferences, and all other relevant details. Then, the judge will arrange custody in whatever manner they feel will disrupt the child’s life the least and provide them with as much access to both parents as possible, as long as they deem both parents fit for custody.

A custody order may dictate joint custody and outline parenting time schedules that both parents must follow. The frequency of travel between the parents will typically depend on their respective work schedules and how close they live to one another. In the event that a parent decides to move a significant distance following divorce, this will undoubtedly create friction in the parents’ custody determination if both intend to seek physical custody.

How an Attorney Can Help You Address Custody Order Violations

Having an experienced attorney’s representation behind you at the outset of a custody determination is one of the best ways to secure the parenting plan terms you prefer and reduce the chances of disputes arising in the future. Your St. Louis family law attorney can help you make a compelling case for custody, and if your co-parent violates your order in any way, you can rely on your legal team to ensure accountability.

Every child custody dispute is unique, but any time a parent willfully violates a custody agreement, they can cause tremendous distress, and some violations are undeniably damaging. If you have experienced any significant dispute with your co-parent, or if they have repeatedly failed to fulfill their legally assigned responsibilities under your family court order, you need an attorney you can trust to guide you through the procedures necessary for rectifying the situation.

Ultimately, some disputes regarding parenting plans reduce to one-off problems the parents can resolve through mutual discussion, but others are more significant and can be damaging if left unaddressed. An experienced St. Louis family law attorney is a valuable asset for ensuring your co-parent upholds their responsibilities under your custody order and that you have reassurance in knowing you can efficiently address any violations of your parenting plan.


Q: What Are the Most Common Parenting Plan Violations in St. Louis?

A: Whenever a parent willfully violates the terms of their custody or visitation order, this can potentially lead to various penalties for that parent. Small violations like slight lateness for drop-off and pick-up times typically do not qualify as serious violations until they become significant and habitual. Schedule disputes, traveling with a child without mutual agreement from both parents, and failure to pay child support on time and in full are just a few commonly reported parenting plan violations in the St. Louis family court system.

Q: What Are the Penalties for Violating a Custody Order in Missouri?

A: Any willful violation of a child custody order in St. Louis is likely to lead to contempt proceedings against the parent in violation. The judge handling the case has discretionary power to assign penalties they deem appropriate. For example, if the violation pertains to nonpayment of child support, the judge may seize the parent’s assets, garnish their wages, or incarcerate them until they meet their payment obligations. More serious violations could lead to involuntary termination of parental rights and criminal prosecution.

Q: How Do I Report a Parenting Plan Violation?

A: If your co-parent has committed a serious violation of your parenting plan and/or you believe you or your child faces an imminent threat, you should call 911. For less serious offenses, such as habitual late payment of child support or failure to meet for custody exchanges on time, it’s best to consult a St. Louis family law attorney to help you determine the best potential remedies to the situation.

Q: Do I Need to Hire a Family Lawyer to Enforce a Custody Order?

A: Technically, there is no legal requirement for you to hire an attorney to file contempt proceedings against your co-parent, request a reasonable modification to a standing custody order or parenting plan, or request the court enforce your custody order. However, if you have an attorney you can trust to assist you, you will be far more likely to reach favorable results in these efforts.

It can be incredibly frustrating for any parent to confront a parenting plan violation, and it’s difficult for anyone to know the best solution to this problem. If you believe your co-parent has violated your custody order, consult an experienced St. Louis family law attorney as soon as possible to determine the best possible remedies to this situation.