Child custody disputes are becoming increasingly common and volatile. Often, one parent is unhappy with the court ordered visitation and/or child support and decides to make things difficult for the other parent. This can include tactics such as continual harassment intended to make the other parent make changes to the custody arrangement, threatening to take the issue back to court, and even kidnapping the child and refusing to abide by the court orders.
These types of situations are compounded when one parent has moved out of the state. Recently, I had an issue arise where the custodial parent had moved out of Alabama with the child and everything seemed to be going fine. The child came back to the state for a scheduled visit and then the non-custodial parent refused to return the child when the visit was over. Law enforcement authorities refused to get involved, calling it a "civil matter."
There are a few different options for the custodial parent in a situation like that one. That parent can file a petition for contempt against the non-custodial parent because of their failure to abide by the court order. However, it is imperative that the original court order be well written so that it is easy to show what is required of the parties. The custodial parent could also file charges against the non-custodial parent for interference with custody. This is a criminal charge that holds very severe consequences if the parent is found guilty. However, this route can be very slow and the damage may already be done to the child if the process takes months or years to reach a conclusion.