My Ex Will Not Stick to the Child Custody Agreement, What Can I Do?
Reaching a child custody agreement can take a considerable amount of time, effort and emotional energy. For parents, there is so much at stake in a child custody or child time sharing dispute. As such, it is easy to understand why parents become extremely frustrated when their ex refuses to abide by the terms of the agreement. If your ex is not following the court order child custody agreement, there are legal options available. The following is a quick three step guide to help you assess your circumstances and understand your rights and options.
Step 1: Assess the Violation
Your child’s other parent has a legal obligation to follow the terms of the child custody agreement. If they fail to live up to this obligation, you have the legal right to take corrective action. In determining the appropriate action, you first need to assess the nature of the violation. After all, child custody violations can come in many different forms. Some common examples include:
- Constantly picking up (or returning) the child late;
- Failing to stick to the general time sharing schedule;
- Disrupting your ability to communicate with your child;
- Unilaterally making important decisions for the child;
- Alienating you from your child;
- Speaking negatively about you to your child; and
- Refusing to follow any other terms within the child custody agreement.
Clearly, these violations vary widely in their level of severity. Additionally, some violations are one-time mistakes, whereas others are intentional and repetitive. You need to assess the nature of your ex’s violation and determine if the issue can be fixed with a simple conversation or if you need to escalate the issue and take legal action. An important word of warning: While it is best to resolve custody agreement violations at the lowest possible level, you must be ready to take aggressive action when necessary.
Step 2: Know Your Remedies
In many cases, minor child custody agreement violations that are allowed to persist end up growing into more severe violations. Fortunately, there are legal options available for affected parents. Some of your options include:
- Having your attorney draft a formal letter explicitly informing your ex of their violation and the intention to take legal action if necessary;
- Requesting mediation services from a local Family Services Office;
- Filing a motion to seek the modification of your child custody order;
- Filing a motion for contempt of court; and
- In emergency situations, contacting the local police.
Step 3: Consult with an Experienced Child Custody Attorney
Before taking any serious corrective action, you need to speak to a qualified attorney. Your attorney can help you properly assess the situation and determine the best way to protect your legal rights. At Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., we understand just how delicate family law dispute can be. We are also ready to fight aggressively to protect your parental rights. To learn more about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact our Orlando office today to request your fully confidential case evaluation.