What To Do When Your Ex Won't Obey Child Custody Orders

After a divorce, you’ve succeeded in getting custody of your child and you’ve received a court order that details out all the child custody arrangements. However, your ex has consistently refused to follow all the details of the custody orders and you’re getting frustrated.

What You Should Do

If your ex does any of the following things, she might not be following child custody orders:

  • Constantly picks up the child late or returning him/her later than agreed.

  • Keeps the child overnight despite the court order stating that she cannot.

  • Bad-mouths you in front of your child.

  • Takes advantage of any vagueness in the child custody order to gain more time with the child.

  • Schedules fun activities to do with the child during periods when the child is supposed to be with you.

It can be a stressful experience if your ex refuses to abide custody orders. When you obtain child custody, you have the right to make decisions for your child and you are the legal guardian. This also gives you certain rights that you can take advantage of if your ex won’t obey the orders.

  • Have your attorney send a letter to your ex.

This is often the first step towards getting your ex to follow child custody orders. Your attorney can write up a forceful letter that informs the other parent that they must obey the court order or be prepared to face serious legal penalties. Sometimes this is all that it takes to wake up a parent and get them to follow the child custody order.

  • Request mediation services from the Family Services Office.

Contact the court where your child custody orders were made and see if they have a Family Services Office or a Family Relations Office and whether they provide mediation services. This might help you and your ex resolve your problem without having to go to court.

  • Ask the judge to make changes to the custody order.

You might be able to modify the child custody arrangement if your ex repeatedly breaks the court order. You could request changes in visitation times and length, for example.

  • File a motion for contempt of court.

The other parent will be required to show up in court and explain why she broke the child custody orders. If your ex is found guilty, she might face fines or sanctions, or even a brief imprisonment. You can also ask for coverage of your attorney’s fees and costs as a penalty for not obeying the child custody order. If you decide to take this route, follow these tips for testifying in court.

  • Call the police.

You might want to do this only as a last resort, but it can be an effective move if you feel that your ex is denying you your legal rights and you’re in a situation where you want to take your child with you. Make sure to have a certified copy of the child custody orders with you when asking the police to intervene.

  • Document everything.

No matter what you decide to do when your ex breaks child custody orders, make sure to write down notes of everything that happened, including her actions and how you reacted. It might be helpful to track the dates and times in a calendar, an electronic document, or a written journal. Include attendance records from your child’s school and your attempts to resolve the situation with your ex in your notes. This information will only help you if you need to take legal action.

What You Should Avoid Doing

These actions listed above are things that you should consider doing if your ex ignores child custody orders, but there are also certain actions that you should never do. If you do any of the following actions, you might find yourself in a disadvantage concerning child custody orders.

  • Don’t retaliate by breaking the child custody order yourself.

Doing this might make you feel better in the short term, but it will only make things worse. This goes for withholding child support or any other action done out of vindictiveness. Plus, if you decide to take legal action against your ex, your actions will make it harder for the court to side with you.

  • Don’t talk badly of your children’s mother in front of them.

Generally, family law judges like to make sure that both parents are involved in their kids’ lives. Show the court that you agree with this ideal and don’t try to turn your child against your ex.

  • Don’t pack up and move away.

A child needs a support network, which includes doctors, friends, relatives and schools, to thrive and the court tends to side with this kind of thinking. No matter how persistent your ex may be in breaking your child custody orders, moving away is not the answer.

  • Don’t go to court over minor violations.

Even though parents are expected to follow child custody orders, the court doesn’t appreciate it when they are forced to deal with very small violations that could be solved by the parents themselves. You should definitely go to court if the child custody orders are constantly disobeyed, but going to court over a very small infraction can actually backfire on you.

  • Don’t assume that you don’t need an attorney.

Many men have the tendency to want to solve things by themselves, but the world of child custody orders can be complicated and there are a lot of laws and proceedings to navigate through. Instead of learning a whole occupation by yourself, get a good attorney who will provide professional legal assistance, which will be useful especially when you’re in the midst of an emotional crisis.

Above all, your actions should be taken in the best interests of your child. Show that attitude in court and they will side with you favorably should you take legal action. With an experienced attorney on your side, you’ll be able to resolve your child custody issues. Contact Kenny Leigh & Associates for more information and legal help.

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