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When mom sought to hold dad in contempt of court for violating a custody order, the Oneida County Family Court acquiesced to the request because it believed that dad had acted in “willful violation of a court order.”

Apparently, the governing directive provided that the dad would have visitation, every other weekend, and it was agreed he could keep the kid until Monday morning. But when the father failed to return the child, at the agreed-upon time, mom was apparently compelled to make an emergency application to the court, and had to seek police assistance, in order to recover the youngster.

Given that a party may be held in contempt when a judge’s “unequivocal mandate” is knowingly violated, the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, affirmed the Family Court’s determination, nothing that:

“The father conceded that the child was not returned to the mother at the agreed time, and the mother established that she was required to obtain an order to show cause as well as police assistance in order to regain custody of the child several days later. Thus, the mother established by clear and convincing evidence that the father violated the order of custody ….”

Dad’s belief that the judge had made an incorrect custody determination wasn’t an excuse for the misconduct, particularly since he never sought physical custody in the first instance.

Got contempt for that?

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Matter of M v B