An order for child custody is a legal obligation from the Maryland court. If you or your children’s other parent do not follow the custody order, you could face legal penalties from the court. The People’s Law Library explains that violating a court order could result in a criminal charge depending on what exactly you did.

A good example is not returning your child to the other parent at the scheduled time. If you fail to return the child, it could be considered abduction. If you do not leave the state, you may face a misdemeanor charge and face a small fine and some jail time. However, if you leave the state, it may become a felony. You could face prison time and a large fine.

Do note that the state allows a 48-hour time limit for children under 16 years old. So, you essentially have 48 hours to get the child back to the other parent before criminal charges come into play.

Furthermore, if you do not follow the child custody order, you may be at risk for losing your access to the child. If you repeatedly, for example, fail to get your child when you have scheduled time for visitation, then the other parent can go to the court and get a revision that would reduce your visitation time. Even your child, once he or she reaches the age of 16, can request a modification to the custody order. So, your actions could lead to you not seeing your child as often or at all. This information is for education and is not legal advice.