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What to do if non custodial parent refuses to return child after visit?

Olympia, WA |

The mother (non custodial) has child for visit. she is refusing to return her to her father (has full custody)because she just found out he has a girlfriend. thats me. she is threating this because i dropped her off for the visit instead of him due to work schedual. she is saying she will file contempt of court even though there is no wording in parenting plan about a third party providing transportation. additionally she is threating to file a restraining order against me. currently i provide child care for the child in question again due to work schedual. what recourse does the father have if his daughter isnt returned? What can i do if a restraining order is filed?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If the mother is refusing to return the child in violaation of the parenting plan then she is in contempt and an action can be brought against her. Further, from what you have stated it does not sound as though there is a basis for the mother to get a restraining order. Contact a family law attorney right away.


  2. IF there is a PP in place, you file a motion for contempt of court and file for an ex parte order ordering the immediate return of the child.

    The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.


  3. I agree with the previous answers. There are two things that can be done: First, file a motion for contempt. If a party is not following the parenting plan then they are in violation of a court order. Knowledge of the order and willfulness are factors the court will consider. Second, seek an ex parte restraiing order to return the child. This will place the child back in your cutstody until the court can fully hear this matter.

    Consult an attorney to review your parenting plan and discuss your specific options.

    Peter J. Abbarno practices in the State of Washington; primarily in Thurston, Lewis, and Cowlitz counties. The response is limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. No response to any posted inquiry shall constitute legal advice, nor the existence of an attorney/client relationship. www.centralialaw.com

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