When parents go through a divorce or separation, one of the most important decisions they make is determining custody of their children. A custody agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent with regards to their children. This agreement can be court-ordered or agreed upon by both parents, but whatever the case may be, it is legally binding and enforceable.

However, there are times when one parent may not uphold their end of the agreement, and this can lead to serious consequences. So, what happens if you break a custody agreement?

Legal Consequences

Breaking a custody agreement is a serious legal matter, and the consequences can be severe. The non-compliant parent can be held in contempt of court, which can result in fines, jail time, or both. In extreme cases, the custody agreement could be modified or even terminated, and the non-compliant parent can lose custody of their children altogether.

Furthermore, the non-compliant parent may also be responsible for paying the other parent`s legal fees and court costs. This can add up to substantial financial penalties, on top of any other legal consequences.

Emotional Consequences

Breaking a custody agreement can also have emotional consequences for both parents and children. For the non-compliant parent, it can strain their relationship with their child and the other parent. It can also negatively impact the child`s emotional well-being, as they may feel caught in the middle of a contentious custody battle.

For the compliant parent, it can be frustrating and stressful to have to constantly pursue legal action against the non-compliant parent. It can also be emotionally taxing to see their child caught in the middle of a custody dispute.


In conclusion, breaking a custody agreement is not a decision to be taken lightly. It can have serious legal, financial, and emotional consequences for everyone involved. In order to avoid these consequences, it is essential for both parents to adhere to the terms of the custody agreement and to work together in the best interests of their children. If there are issues with the custody agreement, it is important to work with a lawyer to resolve them through proper legal channels. Ultimately, the well-being of the children should remain the top priority for both parents.