What are my options if my ex isn’t following our custody order?

Your ex’s refusal to follow the child custody order is interfering with your ability to see your child. What will you do next? It’s a stressful situation for any parent, but thankfully, there are ways to remedy the situation.

Before filing any papers with the court, there are several steps you can take to collect the evidence needed to prove your case. You should take photographs and keep detailed records of the events related to this issue as well as all of your communications with the other party. If there are any witnesses to the events, and they are willing to testify to your recollection of what happened, they could be a massive benefit to your custody trial. Once you have substantial evidence proving that your ex-spouse clearly violated the custody order, you’re ready to take the next steps.

So what can you do to enforce an order if your ex isn’t following the child custody order? You might start with petitioning for a court order that will enforce the custody order through a family court modification process or through a contempt hearing in criminal court. After you obtain the court’s order to enforce the existing custody order your ex-spouse must continue to abide by the order unless a court modifies or dismisses that order, or if the custody arrangement is changed through a custody trial. If you believe it to be necessary, you can then begin a custody trial to have the child custody order modified.

Enforcing an existing court order may resolve the situation immediately, depending on the circumstances. If an order requires you or the children to move out of state and your ex-spouse is not complying, then the Court can take steps to escalate. They may issue orders to have your spouse pay monetary penalties for not following the order, or the judge can also order the non-complying party to pay the other’s attorney’s fees. In more severe cases, the non-compliant party may be found in contempt of court, and have to serve time in jail for their failure in following the court order.

It is always best to work with an experienced family law attorney to assist you with collecting evidence and discussing what other options you may have regarding the enforcement of an existing court order. If you’re struggling with an ex-spouse who isn’t following an established custody order, or want to adjust your custody order, contact us today and let us help resolve the issue.

John M. Totten