Can You File a Police Report for a Custody Violation? 

Custody agreements are put in place to ensure the child’s well-being and safety, but what happens when one parent violates these agreements? Can you call the police for a custody violation? 

In general, you can call the police to investigate a custody violation. If the violation is severe enough, the police will investigate and determine whether a crime has been committed. 

If the police believe that a crime has been committed, they will take action to resolve the situation. If they believe no crime has been committed, they will refer you to family court to resolve the issue. 

Sometimes, the custody violation may be so severe that you should involve law enforcement. This article will discuss everything you need to know about filing a police report for a custody violation.

When Should You File a Police Report for a Custody Violation?

Tim’s Tip: If you suspect the other parent has taken your child without your consent, the first step is to call 911 and contact the police immediately. The police department will issue an Amber Alert if your child is believed to have been abducted and in danger of serious harm or death. 

It is crucial to act fast, especially if you believe your child is in danger. The police will take a report and begin an investigation to try and locate your child. 

However, if the child is not believed to be in imminent danger, other methods of locating the child may be used, such as a missing person report or a custody order enforcement action. 

Ultimately, the decision to issue an Amber Alert rests with law enforcement and is based on the specific details of each case.

How to File a Police Report For a Custody Violation? 

To file a police report for a custody violation, contact your local police department and ask to speak with an officer. 

Explain the situation and provide any evidence or documentation of the custody violation. The police will ask for additional information, such as a copy of the custody agreement and any court orders related to custody.

What Happens After You File a Police Report For a Custody Violation?

If you file a police report for a custody violation, the police will likely investigate the matter to determine if there is evidence of a crime. 

Depending on the specifics of the case, they may interview witnesses, gather evidence, and possibly make an arrest if they believe a crime has been committed.

If the violation is a civil matter rather than a criminal one, the police will refer you to family court or another appropriate legal authority to pursue a resolution through the legal system.

Can Filing a Police Report Affect Custody Arrangements?

Filing a police report can potentially affect custody arrangements, depending on the nature of the report and the outcome of any investigation or legal proceedings that follow.

If the police report involves allegations of abuse or neglect by one parent against the other or the child, the court may take this information into account when making custody decisions. 

The court’s top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child, so if there is evidence of harm or danger to the child, the court may limit or revoke the accused parent’s custody rights.

However, it’s important to note that filing a false police report or making unfounded allegations can also harm a parent’s case for custody. 

The court will consider the credibility and motives of both parties when making custody decisions, and intentionally making false accusations can undermine a parent’s credibility in the eyes of the court.

Ultimately, the impact of a police report on custody arrangements will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and how the court interprets the evidence presented. 

What To Do If The Police Won’t Help With Custody Violations? 

If the police are not willing to help with custody violations, there are several steps you can take:

  • File a complaint with your state’s child welfare agency: If you believe your child is in danger, you can file a complaint with your state’s child welfare agency, which may investigate the situation.

  • Document violations: Keep a detailed record of any violations, including dates, times, and circumstances surrounding the violation. This information can be used as evidence in court.

  • Seek a court order: If you do not have a custody order, you should consider seeking one. A court order will establish your legal rights and can be enforced by the police.

  • Consider mediation: Mediation can be a less adversarial way to resolve custody disputes. A trained mediator can help you and the other parent reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

It’s important to remember that custody disputes can be emotionally charged and complex. It’s often helpful to seek the guidance of a family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights as a parent.

FAQs About Filing a Police Report for a Custody Violation

Q. Can I file a police report for a custody violation if no custody agreement is in place? 

If there is no custody agreement in place, you will need to seek legal assistance to establish one. Without a custody agreement, proving that a custody violation has occurred can be difficult.

Q. What should I do if I feel my child is in immediate danger? 

If you believe your child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency immediately. The police can help you take appropriate action to ensure your child’s safety.

Q. What can I expect from the police after I file a report for a custody violation? 

The police will investigate the matter and may take immediate action to resolve the issue. They may also contact the violating parent to inform them of the complaint. Depending on the circumstances, the police may advise you to seek legal assistance.

Q. Can I file a police report if the other parent is late for visitation? 

While being late for visitation violates the custody agreement, it is not a criminal violation, and the police are not likely to provide any help.

Q. What should I do if the other parent takes the child without permission? 

If the other parent takes the child without permission, you should call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.

Q. Can I modify the custody agreement if the other parent repeatedly violates it? 

Yes, you may be able to seek a modification of custody if the other parent is repeatedly violating the custody agreement and putting your child’s safety and well-being at risk.


Filing a police report for a custody violation can be a difficult decision to make, but it may be necessary to ensure your child’s safety and well-being. 

Gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim, and consult with an attorney if necessary. The police report may be used as evidence in future custody proceedings, so it’s important to carefully consider your options before taking action.

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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