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Can the court modify legal custody in a contempt action?

April 18, 2011

By: John R. Coleman

Coleman, Chambers & Rogers, LLP

This article is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended, nor should be construed to provide legal advice.

My ex-husband and I were recently involved in a contempt action in which the Court modified both legal custody and visitation. Can a Court modify legal custody in a contempt action?

The Trial Court cannot modify legal custody in a contempt action. However, the Trial Court does have the authority to modify visitation rights. The Trial Court is expressly authorized to modify visitation rights, even on its own Motion during a contempt action.

It is improper for the Court to modify custodial rights during the pendency of a contempt action. For example, it would be improper for the Trial Court in a contempt action where both parties had joint legal custody of the child in question to divest one parent of their joint legal custodial rights and place sole legal custody with the remaining parent. It would not be improper for the Court to modify the visitation schedule based upon a change in circumstances and in the best interest of the children.

For additional information regarding modifying custody or visitation agreements, please see the article entitled, Can Final Custody of Visitation Rights be Altered ? The facts of each case are considered individually by the Court. You should consult with an experienced child custody attorney regarding the specific facts of your situation. To learn more about how our child custody and visitation attorneys can help you in: Hall County (Gainesville), Dawson County (Dawsonville), White County, Forsyth County (Cumming), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Union County, Habersham County (Cornelia, Clarkesville, Baldwin), Towns County (Hiawassee), Stephens County (Toccoa), Rabun County (Clayton), Banks County (Homer), Fulton County (Atlanta), Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, Buford) and Jackson County (Jefferson). Please call the family law attorneys at Coleman, Chambers & Rogers, LLP to discuss your options. Please call 678-601-2495 .