Contempt Is Punitive
Video Transcribed: I’d like to talk to you about what your remedies are against third parties who might be interfering with your custodial or visitation rights. In addition to any potential criminal sanctions that would occur if it’s some random third party where you might be talking about a kidnap situation, what are your rights against a relative of saying your child’s mother who is participating in a denial of visitation, along with the mother?
Obviously, with the mother, your remedies are going to be the motion to enforce and contempt of court citation. Motion to enforce gets you into court quickly, and it allows you to get a court to order mom to resume visitation. And it does allow you to recover your attorney’s fees and costs in prosecuting the motion.
Contempt is punitive. It allows you to ask a court to punish mom for failing to observe the custody order. Now, what about a third party who’s not a party to that custody order and therefore not subject to contempt or a motion to enforce? What do you do about that? Well, title 43 gives us the answer.
There is actually a statutory cause of action under title 43, that allows you to sue for damages against any third party that is like, say, grandma or grandpa, or mom’s sister, or any other person like that, that might be aiding and abetting her in unreasonably denying you your visitation. And it allows you to sue for damages, and it is also an attorney’s fees case.
So you do have a remedy under that statute. And it is something that obviously if you want to pursue that, you want it to get good legal counsel, and most likely you’re going to pursue that as part of a broader strategy to enforce your rights. In other words, you may go after this third party and then also go after mom for permitting that conduct since in all likelihood, if you have a third party who’s interfering, then mom would most likely be open to a motion to enforce in the citation for contempt of her role.
But you do, in fact, have a legal remedy. You can sue for damages, and it is something that if you find yourself in that situation, you should talk to a good lawyer about pursuing. And if you do find yourself in this kind of situation, I’d encourage you to go to dads.law for visitation rights in Tulsa, Oklahoma.