A divorce usually results in a court order that details your child custody arrangement. Unfortunately, ex-spouses can take liberties with a parenting plan, by preventing the other spouse to see their child or failing to show up on time for visitation. While these violations can be frustrating, they could face custody and visitation-related consequences if their misconduct is severe or consistent enough.
Examples of Child Custody Order Violations
If your ex-spouse does any of the following, they might not be following child custody orders:
- Repeatedly picks up the child late or returns them later than agreed on
- Keeps the child overnight, despite a court order stating otherwise
- Alienates your child from you (parental alienation)
- Takes advantage of a child custody order to gain more time with the child
- Schedules activities to do with the child on your time
When you obtain child custody, you have the right to make decisions for your child. Fortunately, this also gives you an advantage if your ex won’t obey the existing parenting plan.
Steps to Take
Start by talking to your ex-spouse. Maybe miscommunication led to a few violations, which may be a reasonable excuse. If talking to them does nothing, have your attorney send your ex-spouse a forceful letter that informs them that they must obey the court order or be prepared for serious consequences. A simple letter can provide the wake-up call your ex-spouse needs.
If a letter doesn’t work, request mediation services from the Family Services Office where your child custody orders were made. This might help you and your ex resolve your issues without having to go to court. If you do go to court, you can ask the judge to make changes to the custody order, such as different visitation times and length. If your ex is not willing to go to court, you can file a motion for contempt of court. Your ex will be required to show up in court and explain why they broke the child custody orders. If they are found guilty, they can face fines or sanctions, and even imprisonment.
Finally, you can call the police. This is a last resort, but if your ex is denying you visitation, this may be the way to go. Make sure you have a copy of the child custody order when you ask the police to intervene. No matter what you decide, document everything. Write down notes of when your ex violated the child custody order, and how they did it. Attendance records and other documents will help you if you need to take legal action.If you’re having problems with your ex-spouse, contact our Altamonte family law attorney at Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, L.L.C. Call (407) 753-4111 or contact us online for a free consultation today.