Punish the real violators financially — with hourly sanctions.
What can you do when a parent openly violates court orders, refusing to return the child on time, or otherwise failing to abide by the parenting time plan?
What can you do when one of the parties ignores the threat of having a motion filed against him? He thinks: If you file a motion against me, I’ll file a motion against you, and the judge won’t do anything about it.
One thing you can do is to ask the judge to impose recurring financial penalties for repeat offenders. For example, a court order can read that, for every hour in which the offending parent is late in returning the child, he shall pay a penalty of $100 to the other parent. In really serious cases, a judge can order each party to deposit $500 in a bank account, which can be held in escrow, and he can order funds paid from the account, against the violating parent’s share.
Often, the mere threat of financial sanctions is enough to get the errant parent to clean up his or her act. The first time a parent loses money over a petty, careless or spiteful violation of a custody order, he’ll surely get the message.