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Can I file a contempt of court motion of visitation in North Carolina?

Farmville, NC |

Ten years ago my ex-wife and I agreed to joint custody. About 6 years ago the mother and daughter both moved about 1.5 hours away. As the daughter has gotten older the mother has made it a point to keep her busy with social and extra-curricular activities, which creates visitation issues for me. In addition the scheduling of my time with my daughter is interferred with plans of their own and in violation of agreed to Child Custody agreement. Can I file a motion of contempt to this?

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Attorney answers 1


Yes. You can file a motion for contempt or a motion for show cause. If one party is clearly violating something in a court order, they can be held in criminal or civil contempt by the court and subject to fines or imprisonment. The procedure for doing this can be complex and you would be best served by retaining a local attorney to have a show cause order issued by a judge. This way if the other party does not show up on the scheduled court date, they can be arrested for violating the show cause order.

Jon G. Nuckolls

Jon G. Nuckolls


John's correct, but you want to also make sure that your joint custody or child custody agreement is in a court order and not a separation agreement or parenting agreement that has not been approved by the Courts. If you do not have a court order, you will need to initiate a court action for the Judge to assert jurisdiction over the issue. If you do have a court order, you can file as John suggests, but in Pitt County you are likely to need legal counsel in order to navigate the family court system. You should document (by journal, log or other means) the issues that come up with your schedule so that you are better equipped to explain to an attorney, and later to the judge, what has been occurring. Good luck.

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