Temp. Custody order judge said child couldn't be taken out of the area...

Asked over 2 years ago - Portland, OR

The first temp order made it 3 days on 3 days and the child couldnt be taken out of the area because she had and kept him away from me for 9 days, The only thing that changed in the 2nd order was 5 days on 5 days off. The judge didnt mention anything about taking him out of the area. She took him 5 hours away for 3 days to a guy she has only known for a month and a half. Is it contempt of court what she did?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Miranda Shanell Summer

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . It sort of depends on what the first and second order were for. If the second order was to clarify or amend the previous order and the previous order is still in effect, then she likely violated it. If the second order replaced or superseded the first order, then the fact that it's not in there is important.

    Contempt cases can really make an already difficult custody process even more contentious. If you're worried she's going to keep doing this, than maybe it's worth addressing but if it was a one time thing, you may want to examine whether you really want to open up the contempt can of worms.

    My responses to posts on AVVO are not legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship. In order... more
  2. Jeffrey K. Traylor

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

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    Answered . It seems that based on your description, the court made the prohibition in the first order in order to make sure that you got your parenting time and that there were no further interruptions. Without knowing more it is difficult to give you a definitive answer, but my instinct is that your first order was a temporary protective order of restraint (status quo order) and the second order was a temporary order pending trial. If that is the case, then there was likely no contempt. Status quo orders remain in effect until further order of the court, so unless the court specifically continued the provisions of the prior order, it is probably not contempt.

    The larger issue that you seem to be having is whether it was appropriate for opposing party to travel with the child and introduce them to the new significant other without your permission. This is a situation that many parents in the custody world are presented with. Generally, without a specific ruling by the court to the contrary, a person can do what they like with the child during their parenting time. That is probably not what you want to hear, but absent the court finding that a given activity is not in the child's best interest, parent's are free to do as they see fit during their parenting time.

    If you have a court date remaining (trial perhaps) you will want to make sure that you bring up the issue of the new significant other if you think that it is detrimental to the child, and the court may very well lay out some rules to govern the situation and make the transition easier on the kiddo. The travel portion is probably less concerning given that the other party has five uninterrupted days with the child anyways. After all, the fact that the child traveled a few hours away probably isn't a huge deal because you wouldn't see them any more or less than if they were five minutes away. As always, the best way to protect your legal rights is to consult with and hire a lawyer. Good luck.

    Jeffrey K. Traylor

  3. Scot J Eliot

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . Whether it is contempt of court depends on the language of the two custody orders. It sounds like your question is more driven by whether the mom is showing good judgment around a new relationship. I think a judge would be much more likely to make a significant contempt ruling if her trip was related to the original bad behavior of interfering with your parenting time.

  4. Orion Jacob Nessly

    Contributor Level 15

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    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You've already been given several good answers. I would only add one thing:

    If the 3 day trip 5 hours away was during your parenting time, It wouldn't matter which order is in effect because it would be interfering with your court-ordered parenting time. If this is not the case, you need read no further. However, if the mother interfered with your parenting time, I would suggest that you seek enforcement of the parenting time order.

    Contempt requires a higher standard (it's more difficult to prove), your remedies need to be tailored to remedy a continuing contempt (they can't be to punish the other party for past bad actions), and I always feel like a judge is less likely to grant such a motion unless they other party really did something outrageous. For enforcement of parenting time, you just have to prove what was ordered, that the other party interfered with this court-ordered parenting time (this interference needs to be significant), and that the court should take certain actions to make sure this doesn't happen again.

    Here is past posts in which I've explained the enforcement of parenting time process:
    http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/my-husband-an...

    And here's a link to the statute I'm talking about: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/107.434

    My responses to posts on AVVO are not legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship. In order... more

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