This is the next post in my series on the handling of parental abduction cases in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last article discussed what the Clark County Family Court may and may not consider parental abduction. It is important to distinguish between excusable situations in which a parent is late or there is a justifiable reason for not returning a child on time versus blatant refusal to comply with a custody order. An attorney with experience in custody matters can help review your case and explain your legal options in the context of enforcing your parental rights. In this article, I will discuss the need to obtain a “pick-up” order from the Court and the process for doing so. I will also discuss what to expect at the initial hearing following the issuance of a pick-up order. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
When one parent refuses to return a child to their co-parent in accordance with an existing custody order, it may be tempting to contact the police to retrieve the child. It is important to understand, however, that the police will not generally get involved unless and until a Judge has issued a pick-up order granting them the authority to assist in the child’s retrieval. Upon demonstrating to the Court that the other parent has refused to return the child in accordance with a court order, Judges will typically grant a request for a pick-up order nearly immediately. Once issued, law enforcement will accompany the requesting parent to the non-compliant parent’s residence and collect the child along with their basic belongings. If the other parent fails to obey the police then they may be arrested.
In addition to issuing the pick-up order, the Judge will also schedule a hearing for a later time to determine whether the non-compliant parent should be held in contempt for violating the custody order. To make such a determination, the Court will review factors such as the nature of the violations, whether there is a pattern of non-compliance or the event was an isolated incident, the number of attempts to have the child returned, etc. If the offending parent is found in contempt then they will face possible incarceration and may be required to pay the complaining parent’s legal fees. In extreme cases, the Judge may consider issuing a temporary change in child custody pending a more formal hearing. It is important to understand that how the Court will rule in any given situation will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
If your child is being withheld from you in violation of a court order, contacting an attorney immediately can help ensure that all proper legal channels are followed and that your child is returned as quickly as possible. My office handles such matters and is ready to assist you. Contact us today to speak with a Las Vegas custody lawyer.