So your ex brought your child back late for the fifth weekend in a row?
Living with a custody order is manageable. However, when your ex isn’t keen on holding their end of the deal, it turns into a different case altogether.
Treading this thin line, trying to understand the laws, and juggling the emotions between a child and their separated parent is something nobody (child or parent) ever plans for.
That said, seeking clarity and legal guidance is your shortest route to making these issues a thing of the past and finding an amicable solution for all parties involved.
Circumstances Where Your Ex Isn’t Complying With Custody Orders
Are you aware that your ex may not be complying with custody orders? This can happen with or without your knowledge, and some instances that you may deem “normal” may be non-compliance.
Some of these circumstances include:
- Picking or returning the child later than you had agreed
- When your ex overstays with the child, e.g., keeping them overnight
- Smears or insults you in front of your child
- Failure to pick up or drop off your child
- Abuses your child physically, mentally, or emotionally
- Drug and substance abuse in front of your child
Has Your Ex Broken the Law? Do’s and Don’ts
You’re not alone if your ex has been doing any of the above things. However, even more, important than this discovery is the action you take after it.
Your next steps may mean creating a recurring problem or finding an equally long-term solution. To bring a quick end to this matter, consider taking the following actions:
1. Try and Communicate With Your Ex
If you’re on talking terms with your ex, one of the first steps you can take once you start noticing non-compliance is informing them about it.
An honest discussion may be all it takes to bring clarity to your situation. And even better, if you come to terms on newer custody agreements, a judge will have an easier time supporting your joint resolution, reducing the time you spend on court corridors.
2. Keep a Clear Record
Saying that your ex brings your child late is one thing. Saying that your ex brought your child late on this particular date at such and such a time is another. The latter holds more weight.
Keeping records is the best thing you can start doing once you start noticing non-compliance from your ex. Ensure to document the date and time of the non-compliance and a vivid description of the events. Remember, the human mind forgets.
3. Call the police
In instances where serious issues such as domestic violence or abuse are involved, you shouldn’t think twice about calling the cops.
However, most parents may have reservations about having the police in the presence of their children.
For minor issues where calling the police isn’t necessary, call your lawyer, and you’ll get guidance on the next steps forward.
4. Have a Qualified Lawyer Send a Letter to Your Ex
A letter from a qualified lawyer to your ex may let cooler heads prevail. Your lawyer can explain in detail the part of your custody arrangement that your ex is breaking and paint a clear picture of the effects on the child and the legal consequences.
Having an ex that practices non-compliance may be uncharted territory for you. However, it’s just another day at the office for a qualified lawyer. In this instance, you can tap into the years of experience of a qualified lawyer in bringing such issues to rest.
5. Have your lawyer file a motion for contempt of court
If push comes to shove, your lawyer is always ready to file a motion for contempt of court on your behalf. Contempt of court means that your ex is intentionally disobeying court orders.
Such a motion tells the court that your ex is no longer operating within the pre-agreed upon custody arrangement and seeks remedies to the solution. In short, this motion will force your ex to comply with court orders or even penalize them for their violations.
6. Seek mediation
If communicating with your ex and seeking legal action is off the table, you can have a mediator arbitrate on your behalf.
A mediator may be able to help both of you come to an agreeable solution without going through the technicalities of the legal system.
7. Request for a Change in Custody Orders
Through your lawyer, you can request a judge to change custody orders. Your current circumstances may not be similar to when you first signed the custody orders, making compliance difficult for you both.
Once you come up with more favorable custody arrangements, your lawyer will help you fill a custody order modification form which will hopefully bring custody non-compliance to an end.
What Not to Do in This Instance
In the heat of the moment, especially when emotions are involved, you may find yourself making the wrong decision.
Even outside the matters of law, it’s essential to consider that a child is involved, and their physical, emotional, and mental well-being comes first.
Here are a few things you shouldn’t do:
1. Accept Non-Compliance
One thing that you shouldn’t absolutely do is take non-compliance lying down. If you don’t speak your mind through a lawyer, these cases may only keep getting worse.
If your ex overstays with your child this week, then the right thing isn’t to overstay with the child yourself the following week.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, and if you and your ex are in a proverbial hole relations-wise, the worst thing you can do is keep digging.
3. Take Petty Issues to Court
The legal process is the right of all parents. However, taking minor issues to court is the last thing you want to do.
Which leads us to one question, how minor is a minor issue? Well, that’s why you need a family lawyer, and ours at Petrelli Previtera will put years of family law experience at your disposal.
Possible Remedies and Penalties for Non-Compliance
Once your lawyer convinces the court of your ex’s non-compliance, the judge can devise penalties and remedies to incentivize compliance or compensate aggrieved parties.
Some of these remedies include:
- Your ex having to pay for your legal fees
- A change of custody orders in your favor
Ready to protect you and your child and create a better custody framework?
Our fallibly lawyers have spent years laying custody issues to rest. You have the problem, rest assured that our lawyers have a solution that works in the best interest of your child.
For more information, contact us today and our teams will be more than willing to help.