What to Do If Your Ex Violates Your Child Custody Agreement
Having a child custody agreement issued by the courts is supposed to help make co-parenting easier. It sets the basic rules that each parent needs to follow, but still allows for significant flexibility when it comes to making changes for the best interests of the child (if both parents agree). Unfortunately, even though a child custody agreement is an order that parents are legally obligated to follow, many people still violate them. If your ex violates the child custody agreement, it is important that you react appropriately to get the results that are best for you and your child.Evaluate the Situation
The first thing you need to do is try to put your emotions aside and look at the situation objectively. Being willing to be flexible when it is in the best interests of your child is an important part of co-parenting. This, however, does not mean that your ex gets to dictate what is in you child's best interest. In addition, any flexibility should be discussed ahead of time and agreed upon.
The most important thing to consider when evaluating a violation of the child custody agreement is the safety if your child. If you believe that your ex is putting your child in danger, or might be trying to take them out of the area permanently, your first action should be to call the police, followed immediately by calling your attorney. If that is not a concern, however, then move on to the next step.Document Every Violation
If your ex does not show up to bring your child back, do not lose your temper. You need to remain levelheaded at all times. If you talk to your ex about their violation, make sure to record the conversation when possible. If you communicate via text or email, save those conversations. In addition, write down each violation that occurs and what type of communication took place. Most importantly, do not become violent with your ex or this could cause you more difficulties down the road.Have a Letter Sent to Your Ex
One violation might be seen as a mistake, but if it happens repeatedly, you will want to contact your attorney and have them send your ex a letter. This letter should tell them that they are in violation of the agreement and that you will be taking legal action if it happens again. In many situations, alerting someone that you are willing to take the issue to court is enough to get them to comply with the order going forward.File a Police Report
If your ex refuses to comply with the custody agreement, you may need to call the police to get a report. Involving the police is something that you want to do correctly to ensure you have the documentation needed and to get the results you want. If your child is not in any danger, it is usually a good idea to talk to your attorney before involving the police. Your attorney can let you know how and when to work with law enforcement to get the results you are looking for.File a Motion with the Family Courts
If your ex keeps violating the agreement, you will need to get the courts involved. There are multiple options available when going to court for this type of thing, and the exact steps that need to be taken will depend on your situation. The first option is usually to petition the court to enforce the court order, which may include holding your ex in contempt for willful disobedience of the order. Another option is to ask the court to modify the custody agreement to get more time with your children, or even require that your ex's time is supervised to prevent further violations.Always Get the Legal Help You Need
Throughout the entire time that your ex is violating an agreement, it is important that you keep your attorney informed and involved. Here at Petkovich Law Firm, we will work closely with you to ensure your rights are protected and your children are able to get the care they need. Contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss your situation today.