Rolling Stone magazine recently reported on the coparenting problems of punk rock musician, Brody Dalle and her ex-husband, rocker Josh Homme. Many people find co-parenting to be a challenge, but not everyone winds up in court facing misdemeanor charges… much less on the pages of a national magazine.
The couple has a 50-50 court-ordered shared custody agreement they arrived at when they divorced in 2020. Failing to live up to the terms of a court-ordered agreement can be charged as a crime. It’s called “contempt of court.”
That’s the charge Ms. Dalle faced when her husband took her to court for violating a father’s rights. He said he had suffered parental alienation because of separation from his children. “All I want to do is see my kids,” Mr. Homme told the judge, according to Rolling Stone. “I want my mother to see her grandkids. I want my father to see his grandkids.”
Ms. Dalle was accused of ‘willfully’ failing to deliver the children to their father’s home. She admitted that she didn’t bring them for visitation but said she wasn’t withholding the children. The children were refusing visitation with their dad due to past abuse.
She pushed back on the claim of parental alienation, calling it a strategy abusers use.
The couple’s oldest daughter, age 15, had a temporary restraining order against her father. The contempt of court charge did not apply in her case. She is legally not required to visit her father and he is legally prevented from seeing her.
The middle child, age 10, testified before the judge that he didn’t want to see his father and told him why. Ms. Dalles was acquitted of contempt charges in his case.
That left the court to consider court-ordered visitation for the youngest child, age five. In this case, the judge found Ms. Dalles guilty of contempt of court. She was sentenced to 60 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine. She will be back in court in December when the judge will determine how she serves her community service time.
In the meantime, court-appointed monitors are supervising the 5-year-old’s custodial time with each parent. Both parties will be back in court for a modification of their child custody order.
For the Dalles-Homme family, growing problems led to a breakdown in the co-parenting relationship and the legal custody agreement. Ultimately, and unfortunately, it led to criminal charges against a well-meaning parent.
One can’t always foresee when one-off problems will grow into something serious. Parents need to be vigilant and proactive in addressing problems. If your family is experiencing a breakdown in custody and visitation, get a child custody lawyer involved.
A family law attorney can advise you of resources or strategies to get your custody agreement back on track. If you need to go back to court to modify a child custody order, an attorney can make that happen.
Call the Fort Worth Family Law Office of V. Wayne Ward for Help