Child Custody Order ignored by ex-spouse?If you have recently divorced or even if it been years it's not unusual for one or both parents to use children to get back at the other parent. One of the most effective means for them do this is by withholding visitation or ignoring the child custody order.
Recently on our divorce forum a user asked, "I have been divorced a year and my ex-spouse, the mother of my child, will not let me see my daughter, despite what the child custody order states. What are my legal options?"
If your ex-spouse is withholding visitation rights that you are legally entitled to per the child custody order you should take several immediate steps.
Steps to resolve Child Custody Order Disputes:
1. Talk to your ex-spouse.
The first step to resolve custody battles is to discuss the issue with your ex-spouse. If possible this should be done in a calm, unemotional way. Avoid words like "always" and "never." Fight fair but remain firm in what you expect. The goal is to avoid having to go back to court.
2. Review your child custody order.
Unfortunately, in some cases the problem may be less about either spouse but more about what the child custody order does or does not say. In some cases it may be necessary to return to court and ask them to generate a more specific custody agreement that clearly outlines each parent's visitation schedule. What if your court-order is not specific enough? In this case even if you do decide to charge your spouse with violating the court order it may be difficult to prove they actually did.
3. Notify the court your ex-spouse has violated the court order.
No one wants to go back to court after a divorce, especially when you thought all the legal battles were over. Unfortunately, some ex-partners are not reasonable and are not willing to negotiate a compromise. If your ex-spouse is clearly not abiding by the child custody order it is time to talk to a lawyer and file documents with the court describing how your ex-spouse has violated the child custody order, and ask the court to enforce the order.
Even if you take your ex-spouse to court most likely specific steps will need to be taken to prove your ex-spouse is violating the child custody order. For instance, it is important to register your child custody order with the state in which you live, document any instances when your ex-spouse does not follow the order, which may include filing a report with the police. Next, make sure when you go to court you have copies of the police reports or you have filed them previously with the court as evidence that your ex-spouse is not following the child custody order.
If you are able to prove your ex-spouse is not abiding by the child custody order there are specific legal remedies the court can impose including a potential contempt of court order against your ex, payment for your lawyer's fees, and in some cases, if the violation is severe, jail time.
Do I really need a lawyer?
legal work can be done without help from a divorce lawyer, but many parents find that a DUI lawyer can provide invaluable information about how to resolve specific issues. In some cases your lawyer may be able to work with your spouse or their lawyer and come to an agreement without going to court.