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Is it possible to be awarded custody from custodial parent being charged with contempt for violating joint custody agreement?

Elberon, VA |

I have joint legal custody of both of my children but my ex has physical custody. She refuses to follow the court order regarding the children. She wont talk to me except by email. My oldest son was in grade school and frequently absent (more than 22 times in the first half of the yr), the school lunches weren't getting paid for, the children arent being clothed properly and my school age child has behavioral issues. The school referred this case to a social worker for neglect because she refused to talk to the school as to my son's issues. In an attempt to avoid prosecution of neglect she took him out of school and placed him in home school without consulting me and now refuses to talk about it. When we go to court for her contempt is it poss for them to award me full physical custody?

My lawyer will be filing contempt against my ex and a motion for custody modification. I am just asking to find out what my chances are to get the kids given that I have followed the rules, played by her rules and tried to work this out without resolution. Additionally I pay my support on time every month and keep as much contact as the court awarded by phone as possible with my children.

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Attorney answers 3


Since you already have an attorney, you should direct this question to him/her. But for the most part, show causing a party for failing to comply with a current order of the court is a good strategy to use when asking a court to amend a current custody order.



The reason I was requesting help online was because my lawyer has been diagnosed with cancer and due to this horrible unforseen circumstance, any court or any action regarding this issue is being delayed. At this point I am torn between taking my ex to court for contempt or having her sign a legal document to state she knowingly committed contempt so if she does it again I can show this court to show a history of contempt. Thank you for your response and for not automatically telling me to consult my lawyer as this is obviously not something I can easily do right now. If you have additional advice regarding this issue I would love to hear it. I am fork in the road deciding between court & just having her sign the document for now. In addition to the document, we will allow a temporary trial period for the child to be in home school while monitoring test scores to show whether he is improving or if this is harming him further. The choice to take this route was made since she took him out of school without telling me about changing to home school. I am trying to avoid any further emotional trauma to my child by immediately requiring him to be enrolled back into public school. It is a tough situation.


You have indicated that you have a lawyer, and any question that you have should be directed to that lawyer.

Please remember that if you find an answer particularly helpful, please mark it as helpful or "best answer" so that the attorneys who volunteer their time to answer these questions have feedback. This answer is only for informational purposes, is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different and must be judged on its own unique facts.



The reason I was seeking legal advice even though I have a lawyer is because my lawyer was diagnosed with cancer recently and undergoing treatment making it incredibly difficult to obtain any answers regarding my situation. A little compassion regarding circumstances of each person that asks a question on this site would be appreciated on your part. Thank you.


I agree with the answers of my distinguished colleagues. Retain local counsel to represent you in this matter. Good luck.

If you found this Answer helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer" Please be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.

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